Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft

Sir Walter Scott
George Routledge ASIN: B002F4RN9K

Visual Nerve, those upon the Ear next considered — Delusions of the Touch chiefly experienced in Sleep — Delusions. of the Taste — And of the Smelling — Sum of the Argument. You have asked of me, my dear friend, that I should assist the “Family Library” with the history of a dark chapter in human nature, which the increasing civilization of all wellinstructed countries has now almost blotted out, though the subject attracted no ordinary degree of consideration in the older times of their history. Among much reading of my earlier days, it is no doubt true that I travelled a good deal in the twilight regions of superstitious disquisitions. Many hours have I lost — “I would their debt were less !” — in examining, old as well as more recent narratives of this character, and even in looking into some of the criminal trials so frequent in early days, upon a subject which our fathers considered as a matter of the last importance. And, of late years, the very curious extracts published by Mr. Pitcairn, from the Criminal Records of Scotland, are, besides their historical value, of a nature so much calculated to illustrate the credulity of our ancestors on such subjects, that, by perusing them, I have been induced more recently to recall what I bad read and thought upon the subject at a former period. As, however, my information is only miscellaneous, and I make no pretensions, either to combat the systems of those by whom I am anticipated in consideration of the subject, or to erect any new one of my own, my purpose is, after a general account of Demonology and Witchcraft, to confine myself to narratives of remarkable cases, and to the observations which naturally and easily arise out of them; — in the confidence that such a plan is, at the present time of day, more likely to suit the pages of a popular miscellany, than an attempt to reduce the contents of many hundred tomes, from the largest to the smallest size, into an abridgement, which, however compressed, must remain greatly too large for the reader's powers of patience. A few general remarks on the nature of Demonology, and the original cause of the almost universal belief in communication betwixt mortals and beings of a power superior to themselves, and of a nature not to be comprehended by human organs, are a necessary introduction to the subject. The general, or, it may be termed, the universal belief of the inhabitants of the earth, in

the existence of spirits separated from the encumbrance and incapacities of the body, is grounded on the consciousness of the divinity that speaks in our bosoms, and demonstrates to all men, except the few who are hardened to the celestial voice, that there is within us a portion of the divine substance, which is not subject to the law of death and dissolution, but which, when the body is no longer fit for its abode, shall seek its own place, as a sentinel dismissed from his post. Unaided by revelation, it cannot be hoped that mere earthly reason should be able to form any rational or precise conjecture concerning the destination of the soul when parted from the body ; but the conviction that such an indestructible essence exists, the belief expressed by the poet in a different sense, Non omnis moriar , must infer the existence of many millions of spirits who have not been annihilated, though they have become invisible to mortals who still see, hear, and perceive, only by means of the imperfect organs of humanity. Probability may lead some of the most reflecting to anticipate a state of future rewards and punishments; as those experienced in the education of the deaf and dumb find that their pupils, even while cut off from all instruction by ordinary means, have been able to farm, out of their own unassisted conjectures, some ideas of the existence of a Deity, and of the distinction between the soul and body — a circumstance which proves how naturally these truths arise in the human mind. The principle that they do so arise, being taught or communicated, leads to further conclusions. These spirits, in a state of separate existence, being admitted to exist, are not, it may be supposed, indifferent to the affairs of mortality, perhaps not incapable of influencing them. It is true that, in a more advanced state of society, the philosopher may challenge the possibility of a separate appearance of a disembodied spirit, unless in the case of a direct miracle, to which, being a suspension of the laws of nature, directly wrought by the Maker of these laws, for some express purpose, no bound or restraint can possibly be assigned. But under this necessary limitation and exception, philosophers might plausibly argue that, when the soul is divorced from the body, it loses all those qualities which made it, when clothed with a mortal shape, obvious to the organs of its fellowmen. The abstract idea of a spirit certainly implies that it has neither substance, form, shape, voice, or anything which can render its presence visible or sensible to human faculties. But these sceptic doubts of philosophers on the possibility of the appearance of such separated spirits, do not arise till a certain degree of information has dawned upon a country, and even then only reach a very small proportion of reflecting and betterinformed members of society. To the multitude, the indubitable fact, that so many millions of spirits exist around and even amongst us, seems sufficient to support the belief that they are, in certain instances at least, by some means or other, able to communicate with the world of humanity. The more numerous part of mankind cannot form in their mind the idea of the spirit of the deceased existing, without possessing or having the power to assume the appearance which their acquaintance bore during his life, and do not push their researches beyond this point. Enthusiastic feelings of an impressive and solemn nature occur both in private and

public life, which seem to add ocular testimony to an intercourse betwixt earth and the world beyond it. For example, the son who has been lately deprived of his father feels a sudden crisis approach, in which he is anxious to have recourse to his sagacious advice — or a bereaved husband earnestly desires again to behold the form of which the grave has deprived him for ever — or, to use a darker yet very common instance, the wretched man who has dipped his hand in his fellow-creature's blood, is haunted by the apprehension that the phantom of the slain stands by the bedside of his murderer. In all or any of these cases, who shall doubt that imagination, favoured by circumstances, has power to summon up to the organ of sight, spectres which only exist in the mind of those by whom their apparition seems to be witnessed? If we add, that such a vision may take place in the course of one of those lively dreams in which the patient, except in respect to the single subject of one strong impression, is, or seems, sensible of the real particulars of the scene around him, a state of slumber which often occurs; if be is so far conscious, for example, as to know that he is lying on his own bed, and surrounded by his own familiar furniture at the time when the supposed apparition is manifested, it becomes almost in vain to argue with the visionary against the reality of his dream, since the spectre, though itself purely fanciful, is inserted amidst so many circumstances which he feels must be true beyond the reach of doubt or question. That which is undeniably certain becomes, in a manner, a warrant for the reality of the appearance to which doubt would have been otherwise attached. And if any event, such as the death of the person dreamt of, chances to take place, so as to correspond with the nature and the time of the apparition, the coincidence, though one which must be frequent, since our dreams usually refer to the accomplishment of that which haunts our minds when awake, and often presage the most probable events, seems perfect, and the chain of circumstances touching the evidence may not unreasonably be considered as complete. Such a concatenation, we repeat, must frequently take place, when it is considered of what stuff dreams are made — how naturally they turn upon those who occupy our mind while awake, and, when a soldier is exposed to death in battle, when a sailor is incurring the dangers of the sea, when a beloved wife or relative is attacked by disease, how readily our sleeping imagination rushes to the very point of alarm, which when waking it had shuddered to anticipate. The number of instances in which such lively dreams have been quoted, and both asserted and received as spiritual communications, is very great at all periods; in ignorant times, where the natural cause of dreaming is misapprehended and confused with an idea of mysticism, it is much greater. Yet, perhaps, considering the many thousands of dreams which must, night after night, pass through the imagination of individuals, the number of coincidences between the vision and real event are fewer and less remarkable than a fair calculation of chances would warrant us to expect. But in countries where such presaging dreams are subjects of attention, the number of those which seemed to be coupled with the corresponding issue, is large enough to spread a very general belief of a positive communication betwixt the living and the dead.

though all pretended to have seen lights and heard noises. or with a witness. whether alone. with the additional circumstances. took him from his place in the vessel. according to his own expression. but that be had fortunately. be acquiesced in his commander's reasoning. he sighed deeply. and succeeded in getting rid of his unwelcome visitor. the captain determined to examine the story to the bottom. the sleeper started up. He sate down with his eyes open. and the dream. The visionary was then informed of the real transactions of the night. and lighting a candle.Somnambulism and other nocturnal deceptions frequently lend their aid to the formation of such phantasmata as are formed in this middle state. and. and sprinkled it about the galley. betwixt sleeping and waking. and so forth. we find the excited imagination acting upon the half-waking senses. without any argument at the time. Sailors are generally superstitious. I have forgotten. muttering to himself all the while — mixed salt in the water. and it was probable they might desert rather then return to England with the ghost for a passenger. when he was put to great anxiety and alarm by the following incident and its consequences. returning to his hammock. but not sufficiently so to judge truly of the objects before him. that the ghost had led him to the galley. He soon found that. He was lying in the Tagus. privately resolved to watch the motions of the ghost-seer in the night. worried his life out. which were intelligent enough for the purpose of making him sensible where he was. whose active life had been spent as master and part owner of a large merchant vessel in the Lisbon trade. gave the writer an account of such an instance which came under his observation. To prevent so great a calamity. with so many particulars as to satisfy him he had been the dupe of his imagination. The captain. slept soundly. with a ghastly and disturbed countenance. or that tenor of thought which has been depressed into melancholy by gloomy anticipations respecting the future. Finally. yet from which he could not withhold his eyes. But it is not only private life alone. obtained possession of some holy water. but in other respects a veracious. an Irishman and a Catholic. As the ship bell struck twelve. took up a tin can or decanter. proceeded to the galley or cook-room of the vessel. whom Captain ——had no reason to suspect would wilfully deceive him. the weight of the evidence lay upon the statement of one of his own mates. honest. he knew not how. and a report arose that the ghost of the slain man haunted the vessel. and. and sensible person. In this case. as often happens in these cases. In the next morning the haunted man told the usual precise story of his apparition. and those of my friend's vessel became unwilling to remain on board the ship. He made these communications with a degree of horror which intimated the reality of his distress and apprehensions. which might increase his tendency to superstition. that the spectre of the murdered man appeared to him almost nightly. which disposes the mind . He affirmed to Captain S — —with the deepest obtestations. filled it with water. One of his crew was murdered by a Portuguese assassin. A most respectable person. After a short space be arose. like one relieved from a heavy burden. staring before him as on some terrible object which he beheld with horror. returned no more after its imposture had been detected.

and confusion of ideas incident to the situation. and the Catholics were no less easily led to recognize the warlike Saint George or Saint James in the very front of the strife. amid the violence. Even in the field of death. Brutus own intentions. and a less dignified occasion. was powerful enough to conjure up to the anxious eye of Brutus the spectre of his murdered friend Caesar. and the issue might appear most likely to conclude in the total subjection of liberty. in absorbing and engrossing character. instead of having achieved the freedom of Rome. fighting in the van for their encouragement. which we have hitherto mentioned as occurring in solitude and amid darkness. there is nothing else which might not be fashioned in a vivid dream or a waking reverie. his contemporaries were little disposed to examine the testimony of a man so eminent. is equally favourable to the indulgence of such supernatural communications. distracted probably by recollection of the kindness and favour of the great individual whom he bad put to death to avenge the wrongs of his country. have in all times been supported by the greatest strength of testimony. approaching. should at length place before his eyes in person the appearance which termed itself his evil genius. the chords of the others are supposed to vibrate in unison with the tones produced. well acquainted with the opinions of the Platonists. strong belief has wrought the same wonder. and the conviction that it must involve his own fate and that of his country. by the strict rules of cross-examination and conflicting evidence. and. When the common feeling of danger. though by the slaughter of his own friend. allowing that his own imagination supplied that part of his dialogue with the spectre. or excited exertion. act on the feelings of many men at once. and promised again to meet him at Philippi. or to nightly apparitions — a state of eager anxiety. or employed in dispatching others to these gloomy regions. their minds hold a natural correspondence with each other. surrounded by darkness and solitude. should be disposed to receive without doubt the idea that he had seen a real apparition. and those who were themselves on the verge of the world of spirits. when one is played. In such moments of undecided battle. showing them the way to conquest. since. respecting whose death he perhaps thought himself less justified than at the Ides of March. as it is said is the case with stringed instruments tuned to the same pitch. and it is also natural to think. with all the doubt and uncertainty of its event. Such apparitions being generally visible to a multitude. of which. conceived they beheld the apparitions of those beings whom their national mythology associated with such scenes. the heathen Scandinavian beheld the Choosers of the slain. which they might have thought applicable to another person. the event had only been the renewal of civil wars. the ancients supposed that they saw their deities. and his knowledge of the military art. and was not likely to scrutinize very minutely the supposed vision. Castor and Pollux. It is not miraculous that the masculine spirit of Marcus Brutus. That Brutus.to mid-day fantasies. The anticipation of a dubious battle. the usual matter of which dreams consist. and amid the mortal tug of combat itself. had probably long since assured him that the decision of the civil war must take place at or near that place. that although no one saw the figure but himself. may be naturally conceived. hurry. If an artful or . and the animating burst of enthusiasm.

since the general excitement of the moment impels even the more cold-blooded and judicious persons present to catch up the ideas and echo the exclamations of the majority. for the narrator. The passage is striking and curious. or the northern lights. in its first origin. which do not appear to have been seen in Scotland so frequently as to be accounted a common and familiar atmospherical phenomenon. the number of persons present. . that Saint Iago had appeared on a white horse in van of the combat. in other words. and at once shows the imperfection of such a general testimony. Peter Walker. The conversion of the sceptical gentleman of whom he speaks is highly illustrative of popular credulity carried away into enthusiasm. to trust to the eyes of others rather than to our own. one of the companions of the celebrated Cortez in his Mexican conquest. The first is from the ” Historia Verdadera” of Don Bernal Dias del Castillo. or. Of this disposition. though an enthusiast. After having given an account of a great victory over extreme odds. had considered the heavenly phenomenon as a supernatural weapon-schaw. and there can be little doubt that it refers. rather than allow that they did not witness the same favourable emblem. the cause of which he explains from his own observation. from the first. The honest Conquestador owns that he himself did not see this animating vision . nay. all are alike eager to acknowledge the present miracle. the devout Conquestador exclaims — ” Sinner that I am. he mentions the report inserted in the contemporary Chronicle of Gomara. the reality of which he unscrupulously adopts on the testimony of others. which would otherwise lead to detection of the fallacy. and led on his beloved Spaniards to victory.' In such cases. to whose eyes lie trusted rather than to his own. whilst. was a man of credit. mounted on a chestnut horse. becomes the means of strengthening it. his companions catch at the idea with emulation. at the same time. who. to some uncommon appearance of the aurora borealis. he does not venture to disown the miracle. we may take the liberty to quote two remarkable instances. and most are willing to sacrifice the conviction of their own senses. from which all draw confidence and hope. to see as much of the supernatural as is seen by others around. and fighting strenuously in the very place where Saint James is said to have appeared. One warrior catches the idea from another. or into imposture. in the heat of action. But instead of proceeding to draw the necessary inference. It is very curious to observe the Castilian cavalier's internal conviction that the rumour arose out of a mistake. that he perceives an apparition of the romantic kind which has been intimated. that he beheld an individual cavalier. and the ease with which it is procured. held for the purpose of a sign and warning of civil wars to come. and the battle is won before the mistake is discovered. by the evidence of those around. and does not even affect to have seen the wonders. what am I that I should have beheld the blessed apostle!” The other instance of the infectious character of superstition occurs in a Scottish book.enthusiastic individual exclaims. until the beginning of the eighteenth century. named Francisco de Morla.

and. locks) the guns had. and the closing knots of the bonnets. may be compared with the exploit of the humourist. guns. with his eyes riveted on the well-known bronze lion that graces the front of Northumberland House in the Strand. other companies immediately appeared. there certainly exists more than one disorder known to professional men of which one important symptom is a disposition to see apparitions. and discernible to all that is not stone-blind. we have supposed that the ghost-seer has been in full possession of his ordinary powers of perception. that was discernible to all from those that saw not. on the water of Clyde. others expecting to witness the same phenomenon. . saw a bonnet and a sword drop in the way. though I could see nothing. going all through other. although only two-thirds of them saw what must. whether small or three-barr'd. in which a multitude believed. and having attracted the attention of those who looked at him by muttering. whenever they went abroad. I went there three afternoons together. On such occasions as we have hitherto mentioned. There was a gentleman standing next to me who spoke as too many gentlemen and others speak.”* This singular phenomenon. ' All you that do not see. many people gathered together for several afternoons. say nothing. who planted himself in an attitude of astonishment. and their length and wideness. and. marching the same way. In other respects their blood beat temperately. and swords. in the months of June and July. however. have been equally obvious to all. where there were showers of bonnets. and then all falling to the ground and disappearing. and a third that saw not. they possessed the ordinary capacity of ascertaining the truth or discerning the falsehood of external appearances by an appeal to the organ of sight. there were twothirds of the people that were together saw. “ By heaven it wags! it wags again !” contrived in a few minutes to blockade the whole street with an immense crowd. which covered the trees and the ground. although it is somewhat allied to that . 'A pack of damned witches and warlocks that have the second sight! the devil ha't do I see. for I persuade you it is matter of fact. “ many yet alive can witness that about the Crossford Boat. black or blue. if real.e. two miles beneath Lanark.” says the honest chronicler. and those who did see them there. and the possibility of correcting vagaries of the imagination rendered more difficult by want of the ordinary appeal to the evidence of the bodily senses. or Highland guards. bats. and what handles the swords had. This frightful disorder is not properly insanity. as is now universally known and admitted. Unfortunately.' and immediately there was a discernible change in his countenance. who said. companies meeting companies. unless in the case of dreamers.“ In the year 1686. companies of men in arms marching in order upon the waterside. there was such a fright and trembling on those that did see. some conceiving that they had absolutely seen the lion of Percy wag his tail. especially at the Mains. With as much fear and trembling as any woman I saw there. he called out. as I observed.' And those who did see told what works (i. in whom they may have been obscured by temporary slumber.

but the sense of seeing (or bearing) which betrays its duty and conveys false ideas to a sane intellect More than one learned physician. bad every day a dinner of three regular courses and a dessert . ” He was curious. like Lord Peter's brethren in ” The Tale of a Tub. The most frequent source of the malady is in the dissipated and intemperate habits of those who. by a continued series of intoxication. instances. But the disorder to which I previously alluded is entirely of a bodily character. The case was obvious. instances of which mental disorder may be . in which the sense of taste controlled and attempted to restrain the ideal hypothesis adopted by a deranged imagination. the mind of the patient is principally affected. The difference I conceive to be that. who knew the lunatic eat nothing but this simple aliment at any of his meals.most horrible of maladies. and he contrived to account for all that seemed inconsistent with his imaginary right of property — there were many patients in it. He did not see much company — but he daily received visits from the first characters in the renowned medical school of this city. or organic system.” This dilemma could be no great wonder to the friend to whom the poor patient communicated it.” he said. somehow or other. contrary to that of the maniac. or rather the imagination. which imposes upon and overpowers the evidence of the senses. The disease lay in the extreme vivacity of the patient's imagination. become subject to what is popularly called the Blue Devils. in many constitutions. and would indeed have confounded most bons vivants. and although such hallucinations are proper to both. and yet. “in his table. have agreed that it actually occurs. offer in vain to the lunatic their decided testimony against the fantasy of a deranged imagination. which. everything he eat tasted of porridge. and may. and consists principally in a disease of the visual organs. or rather never abroad — but then his habits were of a domestic and rather sedentary character. It is a disease of the same nature which renders many men incapable of distinguishing colours. In their case. who have given their attestations to the existence of this most distressing complaint. while the senses. therefore. instead of such a banquet as Ude would have displayed when peers were to partake of it. Perhaps the nature of this collision — between a disturbed imagination and organs of sense possessed of their usual accuracy — cannot be better described than in the embarrassment expressed by an insane patient confined in the Infirmary of Edinburgh. and he could not therefore be much in want of society. The house. only the patients go a step further. it is not the mind.” were indignant at the attempt to impose boiled oatmeal upon them. With so many supposed comforts around him — with so many visions of wealth and splendour — one thing alone disturbed the peace of the poor optimist. Here. He went little. which present to the patient a set of spectres or appearances which have no actual existence. but that was owing to the benevolence of his nature. is one instance of actual insanity. and is occasioned by different causes. which made him love to see the relief of distress. was his own. The poor man's malady had taken a gay turn. choice in his selection of cooks. be the means of bringing it oil. and pervert the external form of objects. yet not absolutely powerful enough to contend with the honest evidence of his stomach and palate. in cases of insanity. in his idea. deluded in other. therefore.

But. as if the sufferer should have been rejoiced to see them. which derangement often sensibly affects the eyes and sense of sight. in despair that any part of Britain could shelter him from the daily persecution of this domestic ballet. the . Apparitions of the most unpleasant appearance are his companions in solitude. the former. A young man of fortune. the mind is cleared of these frightful ideas. at least. acknowledging the success of his regimen. Of this the following instance was told to the author by a gentleman connected with the sufferer. with all their trumpery. blue. where he was determined in future to spend his life. resembling a band of figures dressed in green. and the patient had ordered his town-house to be disfurnished and sold. His physician immediately informed him that he had lived upon town too long and too fast not to require an exchange to a more healthy and natural course of life. practising regular exercise. “ Here we all are — here we all are !” The visionary. while the furniture was to be sent down to his residence in the country. which destroy the tranquillity of the unhappy debauchee. to which he was compelled to bear witness. There is reason to believe that such cases are numerous. without exposing himself to the temptations of town. received a grateful letter from him. and with them the unpleasant train of emotions to which their visits had given rise. who performed in his drawing-room a singular dance. One would have supposed this a well-devised scheme for health. in time disappear. was at length obliged to consult the physician upon the means of restoring. that he retired abroad. and grey. after the interval of a month. if I recollect right.known to most who have lived for any period of their lives in society where hard drinking was a common vice. green. came capering and frisking to accompany them. The patient observed the advice. observe a temperate diet and early hours. and that they may perhaps arise not only from the debility of stomach brought on by excess in wine or spirits. exclaiming with great glee. and assured him that by doing so he might bid adieu to black spirits and white. on the same principle avoiding fatigue. though he knew. but also because the mind becomes habitually predominated over by a train of fantastic visions. alas ! no sooner had the furniture of the London drawing-room been placed in order in the gallery of the old manor-house. and are supplied by frightful impressions and scenes. His physician. He therefore prescribed a gentle course of medicine. The joyous visions suggested. One of his principal complaints was the frequent presence of a set of apparitions. to his great annoyance. and prospered. it requires but the slightest renewal of the association to bring back the full tide of misery upon the repentant libertine. and intrude even upon his hours of society: and when by an alteration of habits. than the former delusion returned in full force : the green figurantes . was so much shocked at their appearance. whom the patient's depraved imagination had so long associated with these moveables. that the whole corps de ballet existed only in his own imagination. but earnestly recommended to his patient to retire to his own house in the country. who had led what is called so gay a life as considerably to injure both his health and fortune. by intoxication when the habit is first acquired. The greens goblins had disappeared.

as he remained convinced from the beginning to the end of the disorder. The leading circumstances of this case may be stated very shortly. in this department. the phantoms became less distinct in their outline. and have ended fatally. and others who have assumed Demonology as a subject. Ferriar of Manchester was the first who brought before the English public the leading case. faded. the celebrated bookseller of Berlin. After a certain time. These phantoms afforded nothing unpleasant to the imagination of the visionary either in sight or expression. The case of Nicolai has unquestionably been that of many whose love of science has not been able to overcome their natural reluctance to communicate to the public the particulars attending the visitation of a disease so peculiar. and did not in any other respect regard them as a subject of apprehension. and some use of medicine. there can be no doubt. on the eye of the patient. who visited. owing. and is insisted on by Dr. This persecution of spectral deceptions is also found to exist when no excesses of the patient can be alleged as the cause.consequence of frequent intoxication. that these singular effects were merely symptoms of the state of his health. The learned and acute Dr. must expose those who practise the dangerous custom to the same inconvenience. doubtless. even when a different cause occasions the derangement. That such illnesses have been experienced. presenting crowds of persons who moved and acted before him. Very frequent use of the nitrous oxide which affects the senses so strongly. as opium. . like a dislocated joint. from having been. Hibbert. Nicolai. less vivid in their colouring. but of letters. apt again to go wrong. would probably be found to occasion this species of disorder. even spoke to and addressed him. namely. and is thus. or its various substitutes. This state of health brought on the disposition to see phantasmata . by disease. and produces a short but singular state of ecstasy. of embodying before the eyes of a patient imaginary illusions which are visible to no one else. or it may be more properly said frequented. But there are many other causes which medical men find attended with the same symptom. on all occasions. though it is by no means to be inferred. as it were. the apartments of the learned bookseller. subjected to a series of spectral illusions. that of Mons. It is easy to be supposed that habitual excitement by means of any other intoxicating drug. that the symptom of importance to our present discussion has. and at length totally disappeared. Ferriar. as it may be called. was aided by the consequences of neglecting a course of periodical bleeding which he had been accustomed to observe. been produced from the same identical cause. as it has been repeatedly before the public. Nicolai traces his illness remotely to a series of disagreeable incidents which had happened to him in the beginning of the year 1791. The depression of spirits which was occasioned by these unpleasant occurrences. and had the moral courage to lay before the Philosophical Society of Berlin an account of his own sufferings. Dr. to a deranged state of the blood or nervous system. nay. This gentleman was not a man merely of books. and the patient was possessed of too much firmness to be otherwise affected by their presence than with a species of curiosity.

an old hag. To the recurrence of this apparition I am daily subjected. with which this symptom is ready to ally itself. A very singular and interesting illustration of such combinations as Dr. was as follows: — A patient of Dr. “ of dining at five. and we will see if your malignant old woman will venture to join our company.Dr. in particular. Gregory of Edinburgh. Gregory. was so singular. has treated it also in a medical point of view. The door of the room. a person. and Dr. and sometimes. quoted by him in his lectures. to keep the attention of his host engaged. and exactly as the hour of six arrives I am subjected to the following painful visitation. and that of a dangerous kind. and he mentions.” — said the doctor. tete-a-tete . as well as philosophically. which is of longer or shorter endurance. In all these cases there seems to be a morbid degree of sensibility. I fall from my chair in a swoon. They met at dinner. and in others with the effects of excitation produced by several gases. Hibbert. “with your permission. says something. with science to which we make no pretence.” The patient accepted the proposal with hope and gratitude. Gregory. well known to be of the most varied and brilliant character. but is a frequent hectic symptom — often an associate of febrile and inflammatory disordersfrequently accompanying inflammation of the brain-a concomitant also of highly excited nervous irritability — equally connected with hypochondria — and finally united in some cases with gout. Hibbert has recorded of the spectral illusion with an actual disorder. even when I have been weak enough to bolt it. I will dine with you to-day. and then strikes me a severe blow with her staff. And such is my new and singular complaint. He was answered in the negative. comes straight up to me with every demonstration of spite and indignation which could characterize her who haunted the merchant Abudah in the Oriental tale. having requested the doctor's advice. of some rank. was frequently related in society by the late learned and accomplished Dr. for he had expected ridicule rather than sympathy. which I have sometimes done. handled this subject. to the author's best recollection. that the symptom occurs not only in plethora. and . who has most ingeniously. she rushes upon me. may be held sufficiently descriptive of one character of the various kinds of disorder with which this painful symptom may be found allied. as in the case of the learned Prussian we have just mentioned.” The doctor immediately asked whether his patient had invited any one to sit with him when he expected such a visitation. “Then. I believe.” he said. and which. but so hastily that I cannot discover the purport. exerted his powers of conversation. he said. it was so likely to be imputed to fancy. though inaccurate as a medical definition. The narrative. “I am in the habit. that he bad shrunk from communicating the circumstance to anyone. flies wide open. who suspected some nervous disorder. The visitation of spectral phenomena is described by this learned gentleman as incidental to sundry complaints. or even to mental derangement. made the following extraordinary statement of his complaint. it is understood. and a precision of detail to which our superficial investigation affords us no room for extending ourselves. enters with a frowning and incensed countenance. The nature of the complaint. like one of those who haunted the heath of Forres.

“The hag comes again !” and dropped back in his chair in a swoon. though requiring some process of argument or deduction. the sound becomes the applause of his supposed audience. in the twinkling of an eye. in an alarmed voice. A second. the discharge of the combatants' pistols. and our fancy instantly conjures up a spectre to lie on our bosom. that if I found myself at liberty to name him. The phantom with the crutch was only a species of machinery. in which he saw the whole wonders of heaven and hell. high in a particular department of the law. and accommodated to the tenor of the current train of thought. or indeed any other external impression upon our organs in sleep. even when scarce a moment of time is allowed for that purpose. an explanatory system is adopted during sleep with such extreme rapidity.prevent him from thinking on the approach of the fated hour. He succeeded in his purpose better than he bad hoped. In dreaming. such as that with which fancy is found to supply the disorder called Ephialtes . had not spilled its contents when he returned to ordinary existence. the external sound becomes. and satisfied himself that the periodical shocks of which his patient complained arose from a tendency to apoplexy. and . the rank which he holds in his profession. the noise is that of the fall of some part of the mass. In like manner it may be remarked. — is the dreamer wandering among supposed ruins. which the patient's morbid imagination may introduce into the dream preceding the swoon. which often placed the property of others at his discretion and control. and equally remarkable instance. Of the friend by whom the facts were attested I can only say. whatever that may happen to be. of course. or nightmare. but who was. was communicated to the author by the medical man under whose observation it fell. as to remind us of the vision of the prophet Mahommed. who in his lifetime stood. but it was scarce a moment struck when the owner of the house exclaimed. is usually formed and perfect before the second effort of the speaker has restored the dreamer to the waking world and its realities. and nothing is more remarkable than the rapidity with which imagination supplies a complete explanation of the interruption. as well as his attainments in science and philosophy. according to the previous train of ideas expressed in the dream. of a duel. form an undisputed claim to the most implicit credit. as I understand. that any sudden noise which the slumberer hears. in the way lie had himself described. The physician caused him to be let blood. without being actually awakened by it — any casual touch of his person occurring in the same manner — becomes instantly adopted in his dream. the explanation. and it was hoped might pass away without any evil consequence. — is an orator haranguing in his sleep. So rapid and intuitive is the succession of ideas in sleep. that supposing the intruding alarm to have been the first call of some person to awaken the slumberer. desirous to keep private the name of the hero of so singular a history. though the jar of water which fell when his ecstasy commenced. for example. In short. It was the fortune of this gentleman to be called in to attend the illness of a person now long deceased. to which he was accustomed to look forward with so much terror. In the nightmare an oppression and suffocation is felt. The hour of six came almost unnoticed.

being open to public observation. if possible.” — ” It is possible. difficulty of digestion.” replied the patient. apparently with all its usual strength and energy. no entanglements of affection could be supposed to apply to his age. absence of appetite. therefore. I fear. arid integrity. and leaving a memory with which might be associated the idea of guilt. confined principally to his sick-room. and no sensation of severe remorse could be consistent with his character. But slowness of pulse.” — ” I may answer you. the source of that secret grief which was gnawing the heart and sucking the life-blood of his unfortunate patient. which the criminal had died without confessing. that could argue vacillation of intellect. yet occasionally attending to business. sometimes to bed. induced my friend to take other methods for prosecuting his inquiries. at the time of my friend's visits. my dear friend. when he began his confession in the following manner : — “ You cannot. and manner in which it acts upon me. and urged to him the folly of devoting himself to a lingering and melancholy death. yet medical science has many resources. to learn. which he could not conceal from his friendly physician — the briefness and obvious constraint with which he answered the interrogations of his medical adviser. of which those unacquainted with its powers never can form an estimate. rather than tell the subject of affliction which was thus wasting him. it is impossible for either of us to say what may or may not be in my power. while so engaged. He applied to the sufferer's family. “ that my case is not a Singular . and exerting his mind. Every one else was removed.” said the physician. But until you plainly tell me your symptoms of complaint. but neither can you understand the nature of my complaint. bequeathing in this manner to his family a suspected and dishonoured name. He was. good sense. The patient. or depression of mind. nor did there. by suffering it to be inferred that the secret cause of his dejection and its consequences was something too scandalous or flagitious to be made known. after conversing together previously. which the patient was determined to conceal. and the door of the sick-room made secure. to the conduct of important affairs intrusted to him.whose conduct. He specially pressed upon him the injury which he was doing to his own character. to a superficial observer. be more conscious than I. could your zeal and skill avail to rid me of it. — . and constant depression of spirits. more moved by this species of appeal than by any which had yet been urged. “ that my skill may not equal my wish of serving you. appear anything in his conduct. seemed to draw their origin from some hidden cause. His outward symptoms of malady argued no acute or alarming disease. The deep gloom of the unfortunate gentleman — the embarrassment. The persons applied to. The medical gentleman had finally recourse to serious argument with the invalid himself. expressed his desire to speak out frankly to Dr. denied all knowledge of any cause for the burden which obviously affected their relative. that I am in the course of dying under the oppression of the fatal disease which consumes my vital powers. or within that of medicine. nor. he had for many years borne the character of a man of unusual steadiness. no family loss had occurred which could be followed with such persevering distress. So far as they knew — and they thought they could hardly be deceived — his worldly affairs were prosperous. if you did.

and so painful and abhorrent is the presence of the persecuting vision. and for the present judiciously avoiding any contradiction of the sick man's preconceived fancy. secured. it gave place to.” The medical gentleman listened with anxiety to his patient's statement. even though he did not see it.” he said.one. nevertheless. . though it led me to entertain doubts on the nature of my disorder and alarm for the effect it might produce on my intellects. to the actual existence of which he gave no credit. whether in my own house or in another. and at first not of a terrible or even disagreeable character. a wasted victim to an imaginary disease. a Lord High Commissioner of the Kirk. contented himself with more minute inquiry into the nature of the apparition with which be conceived himself haunted. and into the history of the mode by which so singular a disease had made itself master of his imagination. and chapeau-bras. glided beside me like the ghost of Beau Nash. and at sometimes appeared to mingle with the company. I am rather a friend to cats. The sick person replied by stating that its advances were gradual. when I found myself from time to time embarrassed by the presence of a large cat. and I am sensible I am dying. or which at least had a more imposing appearance. but died. against an attack so irregular.” said the sick man. by strong powers of the understanding. within the course of a few months. Still I had not that positive objection to the animal entertained by a late gallant Highland chieftain. with bag and sword. that my reason is totally inadequate to combat the effects of my morbid imagination. or was succeeded by. he gave the following account of the progress of his disease: — “ My visions. arrayed in a court dress. and I was compelled to regard it as no domestic household cat. that it had become almost indifferent to me.” — ” I. dressed as if to wait upon a Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. a spectre of a more important sort. which came and disappeared I could not exactly tell how. the disease of which the Duke d'Olivarez is there stated to have died?” — “Of the idea. because he was overcome and heart-broken by its imaginary presence. and. “ This personage. though it was sufficiently evident that they were not aware of his presence.” answered the medical gentleman. doubtless. This was no other than the apparition of a gentleman-usher. who has been seen to change to all the colours of his own plaid if a cat by accident happened to be in the room with him. and that I alone was sensible of the visionary honours which this imaginary being seemed desirous to render me. “ that he was haunted by an apparition. till the truth was finally forced upon me. “ am in that very case. but as a bubble of the elements. my dearest doctor. when. as it seemed. or any other who bears on his brow the rank and stamp of delegated sovereignty. This freak of the fancy did not produce much impression on me. since we read of it in the famous novel of Le Sage. as if to announce me in the drawing-room. “ commenced two or three years since. To illustrate this. On the contrary. You remember. and endured with so much equanimity the presence of my imaginary attendant. which had no existence save in my deranged visual organs or depraved imagination. But that modification of my disease also had its appointed duration. ascended the stairs before me. tamboured waistcoat.

“ always to see it. but with equally indifferent success. and placing himself between the two half-drawn curtains at the foot of the bed. and his case remains a melancholy instance of the power of imagination to kill the body.After a few months the phantom of the gentleman-usher was seen no more. and while I feel myself. even when its fantastic terrors cannot overcome the intellect. to my thinking. indicated as the place occupied by the apparition. “ it is now present to your imagination?” ” To my imagination it certainly is so. and fills the vacant space.” It is alleged the man of science started on the instant. “ we will try the experiment otherwise. from these details. and convince yourself of the illusion?” The poor man sighed.” said his friend. on receiving an answer ascertaining. and died in the same distress of mind in which he had spent the latter months of his life. “ And in what part of the chamber do you now conceive the apparition to appear?” the physician inquired. “ Well. who was then in bed. while the emblem at once and presage of mortality is before my eyes. But what avail such reflections. then.” said the doctor. despite philosophy. He ingeniously urged the sick man. the companion of a phantom representing a ghastly inhabitant of the grave. “ because your person is betwixt him and me.” The physician was distressed to perceive.” continued the physician. even while I yet breathe on the earth? Science. . into such contradictions and inconsistencies as might bring his common-sense. “ the presence of this last phantom never quits me.” answered the invalid. trusting he might lead him. that the ideal spectre was close to his own person. When the curtains are left a little open. and I feel too surely that I shall die the victim to so melancholy a disease. even religion. and shook his head negatively.” said the doctor. Alone or in company.” ” Then I understand. but merely an image summoned up by the morbid acuteness of my own excited imagination and deranged organs of sight.” replied the sick man. “ seems to you to be always present to your eyes?” ” It is my fate. is placed between them. though in fancy only. how strongly this visionary apparition was fixed in the imagination of his patient. “ the skeleton. but was succeeded by one horrible to the sight and distressing to the imagination.” Accordingly. with questions concerning the circumstances of the phantom's appearance. ” have you firmness to convince yourself of the truth of this? Can you take courage enough to rise and place yourself in the spot so seeming to be occupied. of the unfortunate persons who suffer under them. so strongly into the field as might combat successfully the fantastic disorder which produced such fatal effects. “ This skeleton. as a sensible man. he rose from his chair by the bedside.” ” You say you are sensible of the delusion. being no other than the image of death itself — the apparition of a skeleton . although I have no belief whatever in the reality of the phantom which it places before me. philosophy.” replied the patient. unhappily. with such minuteness. He resorted to other means of investigation and cure. but I observe his skull peering above your shoulder.” answered the invalid. which seemed to be unimpaired. The patient sunk into deeper and deeper dejection. asked if the spectre was still visible? ” Not entirely so. I in vain tell myself a hundred times over that it is no reality. “ Immediately at the foot of my bed.” said the unfortunate invalid. has no cure for such a disorder.

the probability of the reports which are too inconsistent to be trusted to.” I may mention one or two instances of the kind. become so much deranged as to make false representations to the mind.” It is necessary to premise that M. and other writers who have more recently considered the subject. in the present case. holding the professorship of natural philosophy at Berlin. Transitory deceptions are thus presented to the organs which. he did not. This species of deception is so frequent that one of the greatest poets of the present time answered a lady who asked him if he believed in ghosts: — ” No. and the circumstances of his singular disorder remaining concealed. that the external organs may. This extraordinary circumstance appeared in the Transactions of the Society. from various causes. in a more primitive state of society. there can. a proof the more difficult to be disputed if the phantom has been personally witnessed by a man of sense and estimation. The same species of organic derangement which. A short time after the death of Maupertuis. we think. give way to scrutiny. Thiebault in his ” Recollections of Frederick the Great and the Court of Berlin. to whom the circumstance happened. by his death and last illness. when they occur to men of strength of mind and of education. and the fatal skeleton. who. presented the subject of our last tale with the successive apparitions of his cat. sunk under his malady. The first shall be the apparition of Maupertuis to a brother professor in the Royal Society of Berlin. but is thus stated by M. was a botanist of eminence. the vision of men who are otherwise perfectly clear-sighted. and that. perhaps satisfied in the general as to the actual existence of apparitions. for however short a space of time. the true takes the place of the unreal representation. really see the empty and false forms and hear the ideal sounds which. in such cases. lose any of his well-merited reputation for prudence and sagacity which had attended him during the whole course of his life. whether through the action of the senses. which is worthy of notice. Gleditsch being obliged to traverse the . madam. Hibbert. in the literal sense. Gleditsch. Having added these two remarkable instances to the general train of similar facts quoted by Ferriar. But in ignorant times those instances in which any object is misrepresented. be little doubt of the proposition. for a brief or almost momentary space. In such unhappy cases the patient is intellectually in the condition of a general whose spies have been bribed by the enemy. or of the imagination. has not taken time or trouble to correct his first impressions. I have seen too many myself. But there is a corollary to this proposition. by his own powers of argument. men. or the combined influence of both. simple. his gentleman-usher. may occupy. may be admitted as direct evidence of a supernatural apparition. and their character being once investigated.* M. and respected as a man of an habitually serious. are naturally enough referred to the action of demons or disembodied spirits. and tranquil character. as a continued habit of his deranged vision. and who must engage himself in the difficult and delicate task of examining and correcting.The patient. to which no doubt can be attached.

On riding over one morning to see this gentleman. yet he owned that. upright and stationary. The professor of natural philosophy was too well acquainted with physical science to suppose that his late president. and it was then the following circumstance took place. when. in the family of Messrs. He addressed it. in his hour of adversity at least. Captain C — — advanced on the phantom. The sober-minded professor did not. To ascertain positively the nature of the apparition. He was a man of the most dauntless courage. with whom to be ridiculous was to be worthless — we can hardly wonder at the imagination even of a man of physical science calling up his Eidolon in the hall of his former greatness. ascertaining thus. his penitent had the misfortune to find him very ill from a dangerous complaint. being repeatedly employed by the royal family in very dangerous commissions. His confessor was a clergyman who was residing as chaplain to a man of rank in the west of England. afternoon. from whose mouth a particular friend of the author received the following circumstances of a similar story. he saw in the room the figure of the absent confessor. de Maupertuis. however. that the whole was illusion. but received no answer — the eyes alone were impressed by the appearance. the soldier himself sate down on the same chair. to his great astonishment. on entering the hall. M.hall in which the Academy held its sittings. which was under his charge. This was about three o'clock. push his investigation to the point to which it was carried by a gallant soldier. the apparition of M. He regarded the apparition in no other light than as a phantom produced by some derangement of his own proper organs. In this manner he followed it round the bed. and. Determined to push the matter to the end. but bred in the Irish Brigade. he perceived. could have found his way back to Berlin in person. having his eyes fixed on him. When it is recollected that Maupertuis died at a distance from Berlin. which appeared to retreat gradually before him. without stopping longer than to ascertain exactly the appearance of that object. who had died at Bâle. had his friend died about the same time. he . But be related the vision to his brethren. Bernoulhe. and being willing to complete them on the Thursday before the meeting. These occupied him till the hour of retiring to bed. in the first angle on his left hand. and remain there in a sitting posture. when it seemed to sink down on an elbow-chair. sincerely attached to the duties of his religion. which he displayed in some uncommonly desperate adventures during the first years of the French Revolution. He retired in great distress and apprehension of his friend's life. beyond question. and assured them that it was as defined and perfect as the actual person of Maupertuis could have presented. once the scene of his triumphs — overwhelmed by the petulant ridicule of Voltaire. having some arrangements to make in the cabinet of natural history. about four miles from the place where Captain C — — lived. Captain C — — was a native of Britain. Gleditsch went to his own business. Captain C — — was a Catholic. After the King's death he came over to England. and the feeling brought back upon him many other painful and disagreeable recollections. and out of favour with Frederick.

through which the moon was beginning to shine. are of the latter character. in perusing one of the publications which professed to detail the habits and opinions of the distinguished individual who was now no more. as being of short duration. to whom the deceased had been well known. and the like. or. But as the confessor recovered. while living.would not well have known what name to give to his vision. plaids. and passing into this hall. with all his power. so as to notice the wonderful accuracy with which fancy had impressed upon the bodily eye the peculiarities of dress and posture of the illustrious poet. and such other articles as usually are found in a country entrance-hall. and. He stopped for a single moment. and the person who had witnessed the apparition. the exact representation of his departed friend. As the reader had enjoyed the intimacy of the deceased to a considerable degree. These were merely a screen. and in a standing posture. more properly. a great station in the eye of the public. The spectator returned to the spot from which he had seen the illusion. into the various materials of which it was composed. and tell his young friend under what a striking hallucination he had for a moment laboured. of the delusion. in Dr. There is every reason to believe that instances of this kind are frequent among persons of a certain temperament. was engaged. had only to return into the apartment. even for this very reason. they are almost certain to be considered as real supernatural appearances. “ nothing came of it. Sensible. he felt no sentiment save that of wonder at the extraordinary accuracy of the resemblance. They bear to the former the analogy. that of the Catholic clergyman to Captain C — — . A visitor was sitting in the apartment. that of a late poet to his friend. to recall the image which had been so singularly vivid. that the individual of whom I speak saw. and when such occur in an early period of society. The apparition of Maupertuis to Monsieur Gleditsch. he was deeply interested in the publication. right before him. a literary friend. But. It was when laying down his book. and others formerly noticed. which a sudden and temporary fever-fit has to a serious feverish illness. for certain reasons.” the incident was only remarkable as showing that men of the strongest nerves are not exempted from such delusions. who had filled. however. skins of wild animals. whose recollection had been so strongly brought to his imagination. as we may say. which resolved itself. Another illusion of the same nature we have the best reason for vouching as a fact. since they accord much better with our idea of . shawls. Johnson's phrase. it is more difficult to bring such momentary impressions back to their real sphere of optical illusions. as he approached. But this was beyond his capacity. and constituting no habitual or constitutional derangement of the system. rather fantastically fitted up with articles of armour. which contained some particulars relating to himself and other friends. and stepped onwards towards the figure. whose excited state had been the means of raising it. during the darkening twilight of an autumn evening. Their sitting-room opened into an entrance-hall. and endeavoured. we do not give the names of the parties. They differ from those of Nicolai. Not long after the death of a late illustrious poet. occupied by great-coats. though. who was also engaged in reading.

and months. and to a farther or more limited extent. died in consequence. where there existed no man but the shipwrecked mariner himself. and at others it was no uncommon circumstance that the person who fancied himself so called. in their turn. he heard the voice of his mother. we must remark that the eye is the organ most essential to the purpose of realizing to our mind the appearance of external objects. while he was opening the door of his college chambers. than in those which arise from his being waked from sleep by some one calling his name in the solitary island. and that when the visual organ becomes depraved for a greater or less time. From the false impressions received from this organ also arise consequences similar to those derived from erroneous reports made by the organs of sight. devoting him to the infernal gods. relative was. It may be remarked also. Thus. are as ready. Johnson retained a deep impression that. and are grounded upon inaccurate and imperfect hearing. that the symptom originates in deranged health. its misrepresentation of the objects of sight is peculiarly apt to terminate in such hallucinations as those we have been detailing. The voice of some absent. wastes away and dies. with the usual ceremonies. On shores. instead of informing. A whole class of superstitious observances arise. Sometimes the aerial summoner intimated his own death. — for the same reason that the negro pines to death who is laid under the ban of an Obi woman. call him by his name. from other circumstances.glimpses of the future world than those in which the vision is continued or repeated for hours. and wildernesses. To the excited and imperfect state of the ear we owe the existence of what Milton sublimely calls — The airy tongues that syllable men's names. These also appear such natural causes of alarm. of which most men's recollection will supply instances. to retain false or doubtful impressions. in regard to the ear. The following may he stated as one . then at many miles' distance. days. we may quote that visionary summons which the natives of the Hebrides acknowledged as one sure sign of approaching fate. which mislead. affording opportunities of discovering. and to the extent of their power. we are repeatedly deceived by such sounds as are imperfectly gathered up and erroneously apprehended. in such cases. in their various departments. Before concluding these observations upon the deceptions of the senses. that Dr. It is unnecessary to dwell on this sort of auricular deception. heard as repeating the party's name. in desert sands. Yet the other senses or organs. as the sight itself. the party to whom they are addressed. or probably some deceased. and it appears he was rather disappointed that no event of consequence followed a summons sounding so decidedly supernatural. as one doomed to do so. Amidst the train of superstitions deduced from the imperfections of the ear. the next organ in importance to the eye. that we do not sympathize more readily with Robinson Crusoe's apprehensions when he witnesses the print of the savage's foot in the sand. or the Cambro-Briton. whose name is put into the famous cursing well.

since of old the haughty Thanes of Ross Were wont. blowing far and keen. It is scarce necessary to add. this. respecting the numerous sounds likely to occur in the dark recesses of pathless forests. for I could otherwise have let you hear the cry of the Wild Huntsman. the broken cry of deer Mangled by throttling dogs.serving to show by what slender accidents the human ear may be imposed upon. Yet there is one circumstance in which the Sense of touch as . in doing so. on a moment's reflection. operating upon the auricular deceptions. And louder. and obviously had no accession to the sounds which had caught the author's attention. about two years since. thickbeating on the hollow hill: Sudden the grazing heifer in the vale Starts at the tumult. of the most successful impostures which credulity has received as supernatural communications. the air Labours with louder shouts and rifer din Of close pursuit. He called upon his own dogs. and the herdsman's ears Tingle with inward dread. But not one trace of living wight discerns. nor are there many cases in which it can become accessary to such false intelligence as the eye and ear. sounding intermittedly. the shouts of men. had never occurred to his elder friend as likely to produce the sounds he had heard.”* It must also be remembered. so finely embodied by the nameless author of ” Albania:” — ” There. As the season was summer. Beginning faint. And hoofs. satisfied the hearer that it could not be the clamour of an actual chase. to fairy. when he heard what he conceived to be the cry of a distant pack of hounds. They came in quietly. The sense of touch seems less liable to perversion than either that of sight or smell. that the highly imaginative superstition of the Wild Huntsman in Germany seems to have had its origin in strong fancy. Nor knows. voice of hunters. Forthwith the hubbub multiplies. collecting their objects from a greater distance and by less accurate enquiry. from various circumstances. may be traced many. The same clew may be found to the kindred Scottish belief. being the singing of the Wind in the instrument which the young gentleman was obliged to use. or to fiend. “ I am doubly sorry for your infirmity at this moment. To wake the bounding stag or guilty wolf. and every mountain round. but which. in a wild and solitary scene with a young friend. There oft is heard at midnight or at noon. he turned when spoken to. and of hounds. But wonders.” As the young gentleman used a hearing tube. with clans and ready vassals thronged. who laboured under the infirmity of a severe deafness. The author was walking. and yet his ears repeatedly brought back the supposed cry. of which two or three were with the walking party. but rising still more loud. are but too ready to convey. The supposed distant sound was in fact a nigh one. and. and no end of wondering finds. so that he could not help saying to his companion. To what or whom he owes his idle fear — To ghost. o'erawed and trembling as he stands. Aghast he eyes The upland ridge. And horns hoarse-winded. that to the auricular deceptions practised by the means of ventriloquism or otherwise. the cause of the phenomenon became apparent. to witch.

in this case. We have seen the palate. in respect to the circumstances which it impresses on its owner. He awaked in horror. He had fallen asleep. Nay. It was a minute before he discovered that his own left hand was in a state of numbness. we are authorized to believe that individuals have died in consequence of having supposed themselves to have taken poison. than as a good dinner and its accompaniments are essential in fitting out a daring Tam of Shanter. æque experiare. if the glasses of each are administered indiscriminately while he is blindfolded. the draught they had swallowed as such was of an innoxious or restorative quality. in reality. as during sleep the patient is unconscious that both limbs are his own identical property. The palate. The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's . is subject to imposition as well as the other senses. quam vis jam corporis. is noticed by Lucretius: — ” Ut si forte mana. This peculiarity of the organ of touch. as also that it is confined to no particular organ. in the gay visions which gilded the patient's confinement. The delusions of the stomach can seldom bear upon our present subject. when the dreamer touches with his hand some other part of his own person. the hand is both toucher of the limb on which it rests. which at one and the same time receives an impression from the band. substance. What dangers thou canst make us scorn! Wi' tippenny we fear nae evil.” A remarkable instance of such an illusion was told me by a late nobleman. and touch. The taste and the smell. like the touch. would afford a clew to many puzzling phenomena in the theory of dreams. with some uneasy feelings arising from indigestion. both the proprietor of the member touching. both the actor and patient. while.well as others is very apt to betray its possessor into inaccuracy. ipse Tute tibi partem ferias. and are not otherwise connected with supernatural appearances. which. and are less likely than those senses to aid in misleading the imagination. and with it he had accidentally encircled his right arm. and false impressions are thus received. The case occurs during sleep. and from their reciprocal action. of the member touching. and receives an impression of touch from it. however. and conveys to the mind a report respecting the size. — that is. and the like. in the case of the porridge-fed lunatic. and of that which is touched. enter its protest against the acquiescence of eyes. his mind is apt to be much disturbed by the complication of sensations arising from two parts of his person being at once acted upon. ears. but is diffused over the whole person of the man. and still felt the cold dead grasp of a corpse's hand on his right wrist. and the same is the case with the limb. The best and most acute bon vivant loses his power of discriminating betwixt different kinds of wine. if he is prevented from assisting his palate by the aid of his eyes. to increase the complication. when. accurately enquired into. At length they were all summed up in the apprehension that the phantom of a dead man held the sleeper by the wrist. They operated in their usual course of visionary terrors. He is clearly. Wi' usquebae we'll face the devil. and endeavoured to drag him out of bed. Now. convey more direct intelligence than the eye and the ear. who is fittest to encounter them when the poet's observation is not unlikely to apply — ” Inspiring bauld John Barleycorn.

noddle, Fair play, he caredna deils a bodle!” Neither has the sense of smell, in its ordinary state, much connexion with our present subject. Mr. Aubrey tells us, indeed, of an apparition which disappeared with a curious perfume as well as a most melodious twang; and popular belief ascribes to the presence of infernal spirits a strong relish of the sulphureous element of which they are inhabitants. Such accompaniments, therefore, are usually united with other materials for imposture. If, as a general opinion assures us, which is not positively discountenanced 'by Dr. Hibbert, by the inhalation of certain gases or poisonous “herbs, necromancers can dispose a person to believe he sees phantoms, it is likely that the nostrils are made to inhale such suffumigation as well as the mouth. * I have now arrived, by a devious path, at the conclusion of this letter, the object of which is to show from what attributes of our nature, whether mental or corporeal, arises that predisposition to believe in supernatural occurrences. It is, I think, conclusive that mankind, from a very early period, have their minds prepared for such events by the consciousness of the existence of a spiritual world, inferring in the general proposition the undeniable truth that each man, from the monarch to the beggar, who has once acted his part on the stage, continues to exist, and may again, even in a disembodied state, if such is the pleasure of Heaven, for aught that we know to the contrary, be permitted or ordained to mingle amongst those who yet remain in the body. The abstract possibility of apparitions must be admitted by every one who believes in a Deity, and His superintending omnipotence. But imagination is apt to intrude its explanations and inferences founded on inadequate evidence. Sometimes our violent and inordinate passions, originating in sorrow for our friends, remorse for our crimes, our eagerness of patriotism, or our deep sense of devotion — these or other violent excitements of a moral character, in the visions of night, or the rapt ecstasy of the day, persuade us that we witness, with our eyes and ears, an actual instance of that supernatural communication, the possibility of which cannot be denied. At other times the corporeal organs impose upon the mind, while the eye and the ear, diseased, deranged, or misled, convey false impressions to the patient. Very often both the mental delusion and the physical deception exist at the same time, and men's belief of the phenomena presented to them, however erroneously, by the senses, is the firmer and more readily granted, that the physical impression corresponded with the mental excitement. So many causes acting thus upon each other in various degrees, or sometimes separately, it must happen early in the infancy of every society that there should occur many apparently well-authenticated instances of supernatural intercourse, satisfactory enough to authenticate peculiar examples of the general proposition which is impressed upon us by belief of the immortality of the soul. These examples of undeniable apparitions (for they are apprehended to be incontrovertible), fall like the seed of the husbandman into fertile and prepared soil, and are usually followed by a plentiful crop of superstitious

figments, which derive their sources from circumstances and enactments in sacred and profane history, hastily adopted, and perverted from their genuine reading. This shall be the subject of my next letter. * Walker's “Lives,” Edinburgh, 1827, vol. i. p. xxxvi. It is evident that honest Peter believed in the apparition of this martial gear on the principle of Partridge's terror for the ghost of Hamlet — not that lie was afraid himself, but because Garrick showed such evident marks of terror. * Long the president of the Berlin Academy, and much favoured by Frederick II., till be was overwhelmed by the ridicule of Voltaire. He retired, in a species of disgrace, to his native country of Switzerland, and died there shortly afterwards. * The poem of “Albania” is, in its original folio edition, so extremely scarce that I have only seen a copy belonging to the amiable and ingenious Dr. Beattie, besides the one which I myself possess, printed in the earlier part of last century. It was reprinted by my late friend Dr. Leyden in a small volume entitled ” Scottish Descriptive Poems.” ” Albania” contains the above, and many other poetical passages of the highest merit. * Most ancient authors, who pretend to treat of the wonders of natural magic, give receipts for calling up phantoms. The lighting lamps fed by peculiar kinds of medicated oil, and the use of suffumigations, of strong and deleterious herbs, are the means recommended. From these authorities, perhaps, a professor of legerdemain assured Dr. Alderson of Hull, that he could compose a preparation of antimony, sulphur, and other drugs, which, when burnt in a confined room, would have the effect of causing the patient to suppose he saw phantoms. — See “ Hibbert on Apparitions,” p. 120. LETTER II. Consequences of the Fall on the Communication between Man and the Spiritual World — Effects of the Flood — Wizards of Pharaoh — Text in Exodus against Witches — The word Witch is by some said to mean merely Poisoner — Or if in the Holy Text it also means a Divineress, she must, at any rate, have been a Character very different to be identified with it — The original, Chasaph, said to mean a person who dealt in Poisons, often a Traffic of those who dealt with familiar Spirits — But different from the European Witch of the Middle Ages — Thus a Witch is not accessary to the Temptation of Job — The Witch of the Hebrews probably did not rank higher than a Divining Woman — Yet it was a Crime deserving the Doom of Death, since it inferred the disowning of Jehovah's Supremacy — Other Texts of Scripture, in like manner, refer to something corresponding more with a Fortune-teller or Divining Woman than what is now called a Witch — Example of the Witch of Endor — Account of her Meeting with Saul — Supposed by some a mere Impostor — By others, a Sorceress powerful enough to raise the Spirit of the Prophet by her own Art — Difficulties attending both Positions — A middle Course adopted, supposing that, as in the Case of Balak, the Almighty had, by Exertion of His Will, substituted Samuel, or a good Spirit in his Character, for

the Deception which the Witch intended to produce — Resumption of the Argument, showing that the Witch of Endor signified something very different from the modern Ideas of Witchcraft — The Witches mentioned in the New Testament are not less different from modern Ideas than those of the Books of Moses, nor do they appear to have possessed the Power ascribed to Magicians — Articles of Faith which we may gather from Scripture on this point — That there might be certain Powers permitted by the Almighty to Inferior, and even Evil Spirits, is possible; and in some sense the Gods of the Heathens might be accounted Demons — More frequently, and in a general sense, they were but logs of wood, without sense or power of any kind, and their worship founded on imposture — Opinion that the Oracles were silenced at the Nativity adopted by Milton Cases of Demoniacs — The Incarnate Possessions probably ceased at the same time as the intervention of Miracles — Opinion of the Catholics — Result, that witchcraft, as the Word is interpreted in the Middle Ages, neither occurs under the Mosaic or Gospel Dispensation — It arose in the Ignorant Period, when the Christians considered the Gods of the Mahommedan or Heathen Nations as Fiends, and their Priests as Conjurers or Wizards — Instance as to the Saracens, and among the Northern Europeans yet unconverted — The Gods of Mexico and Peru explained on the same system — Also the Powahs of North America — Opinion of Mather — Gibb, a supposed Warlock, persecuted by the other Dissenters — Conclusion. WHAT degree of communication might have existed between the human race and the inhabitants of the other world had our first parents kept the commands of the Creator, can only be subject of unavailing speculation. We do not, perhaps, presume too much when we suppose, with Milton, that one necessary consequence of eating the ” fruit of that forbidden tree” was removing to a wider distance from celestial essences the beings who, although originally but a little lower than the angels, had, by their own crime, forfeited the gift of immortality, and degraded themselves into an inferior rank of creation. Some communication between the spiritual world, by the union of those termed in Scripture ” sons of God” and the daughters of Adam, still continued after the Fall, though their inter-alliance was not approved of by the Ruler of mankind. We are given to understand — darkly, indeed, but with as much certainty as we can be entitled to require — that the mixture between the two species of created beings was sinful on the part of both, and displeasing to the Almighty. It is probable, also, that the extreme longevity of the antediluvian mortals prevented their feeling sufficiently that they had brought themselves under the banner of Azrael, the angel of death, and removed to too great a distance the period between their crime and its punishment. The date of the avenging Flood gave birth to a race whose life was gradually shortened, and who, being admitted to slighter and rarer intimacy with beings who possessed a higher rank in creation,

and who can doubt that — though we may be left in some darkness both respecting the extent of their skill and the source from which it was drawn — we are told all which it can be important for us to know? We arrive here at the period when the Almighty chose to take upon himself directly to legislate for his chosen people. This is known to have been the case in many of those darker iniquities which bear as their characteristic something connected with hidden and prohibited arts. or was visited with any open marks of Divine displeasure. for evil purposes. and are given to understand that mankind. and began. or similar mystical means. or the intercourse between the spiritual world and embodied beings. by charms. which. so that the epithet of sorceress and poisoner were almost synonymous. or goods. Accordingly. after this period we hear no more of those unnatural alliances which preceded the Flood. contended with Moses. other learned men contend that it hath the meaning of a witch also. either from its tenor being misunderstood. by which it is rendered in the Latin version of the Septuagint. as of course. has occasioned much cruelty and bloodshed. or arising from knowledge of legerdemain and its kindred accomplishments. King of Egypt. The text alluded to is that verse of the twenty-second chapter of Exodus bearing.assumed. In this particular the witches of Scripture had probably some resemblance to those of ancient Europe. by the more benign and clement dispensation of the Gospel. changed their rods into serpents. in various places. while the Deity was pleased to continue his manifestations to those who were destined to be the fathers of his elect people. we are made to understand that wicked men — it may be by the assistance of fallen angels — were enabled to assert rank with. and attempt to match. separated from each other. to pursue the work of replenishing the world. however. a lower position in the scale. either by noxious potions. like the greater part of that law. without having obtained any accurate knowledge whether the crime of witchcraft. was announced a text. as long as they confined themselves to their charms and spells. and may be understood as denoting a person who pretended to hurt his or her neighbours in life. and under separate auspices. “ men shall not suffer a witch to live. . Those powers of the Magi. and imitated several of the plagues denounced against the devoted kingdom. either existed after the Flood. limb. dictated by the Divinity himself. In the meantime. the prophets of the God of Israel. in the face of the prince and people. although their skill and power might be safely despised. were very apt to eke out their capacity of mischief by the use of actual poison.” Many learned men have affirmed that in this remarkable passage the Hebrew word CHASAPH means nothing more than poisoner. whether obtained by supernatural communications. although. as interpreted literally. being exclusively calculated for the Israelites. it made part of the judicial Mosaic dispensation. like the word veneficus . The matter must remain uncertain whether it was by sorcery or legerdemain that the wizards of Pharaoh. were openly exhibited. who. dispersing into different parts of the world. or that. having been inserted into the criminal code of all Christian nations. which had been imposed upon them as an end of their creation. and was abrogated. But in the law of Moses.

by the Jewish law. Satan desired to have Peter. which could return them no answer. and no infliction of disease or misfortune upon good men. the false divinity Baal. The swerving from their allegiance to the true Divinity. but because they were guilty of apostasy from the real Deity. straying from the path of direct worship of Jehovah. it is not for us to determine) that. proved so utterly unavailing as to incur the ridicule of the prophet). witchcraft. to enquiries at some pretended deity or real evil spirit concerning future events. would have employed his servant the witch as the necessary instrument of the Man of Uzz's afflictions. and as such most fit to be punished capitally. he applied for permission to the Supreme Governor of the world. when the arts of Forman and other sorcerers having been found insufficient to touch the victim's life. Luke xxii. who granted him liberty to try his faithful servant with a storm of disasters. may it be said. in what respect. in the time of Moses. no infernal stamp or sign of such a fatal league. the connexion between the conjurer and the demon must have been of a very different character under the law of Moses. not on account of any success which they might obtain by their intercessions and invocations (which. Thus the prophets of Baal were deservedly put to death. The Hebrew witch. the God of Jacob necessarily showed himself a jealous God to all who. how far metaphorically. In all this. when the Enemy of mankind desired to probe the virtue of Job to the bottom. was. 31” Supposing the powers of the witch to be limited. On the contrary. or be of a nature much less intimate than has been . whether idols or evil spirits. was justly punished with death. save for the assistance of demons or familiars. or she who communicated. But neither is there here the agency of any sorcerer or witch. for the more brilliant exhibition of the faith which he reposed in his Maker. or attempted to communicate. we must reflect that the object of the Mosaic dispensation being to preserve the knowledge of the True Deity within the breasts of a selected and separated people. In like manner. to the extent of cutting and wounding themselves. practice by poison was at length successfully resorted to. while they worshipped. with an evil spirit. At least there is not a word in Scripture authorizing us to believe that such a system existed. the gods of the neighbouring heathen. that he might sift him like wheat. and the Devil. an act of rebellion to their own Lord God. invocations. and charms would have been introduced. had the scene occurred after the manner of the like events in latter days. from that which was conceived in latter days to constitute witchcraft. But supposing that the Hebrew witch proceeded only by charms. and encouraged others to worship. therefore. or such means as might be innoxious. no revellings of Satan and his nags. instead of his own permitted agency. sorceries. though enhanced with all their vehemence. we are told (how far literally. though her communication with the spiritual world might either not exist at all. There was no contract of subjection to a diabolic Power. had recourse to other deities.Such was the statement in the indictment of those concerned in the famous murder of Sir Thomas Overbury. to the extent of praying to senseless stocks and stones. did such a crime deserve the severe punishment of death? To answer this question. and numerous similar instances might be quoted.

to go to a divining woman. which proves that the crime of witchcraft (capitally punished as it was when discovered) was not frequent among the chosen people. that he caused his children to pass through the fire. or a charmer. in order to obtain responses by the superstitious practices of the pagan nations around them. she . at length resolved. accused of a very different species of crime.ascribed to the witches of later days. a fact. with all its unnatural and improbable outrages on common sense. and dealt with familiar spirits and with wizards. notwithstanding repeated prohibitions. who had previously communicated with him through his prophets. despairing of obtaining an answer from the offended Deity. These passages seem to concur with the former. consulted the oracle of Apollo — a capital offence in a Jew. the only detailed and particular account of such a transaction which is to be found in the Bible. by the way. examples. disheartened and discouraged by the general defection of his subjects. or a witch. Scripture proceeds to give us the general information that the king directed the witch to call up the Spirit of Samuel. used enchantments and witchcraft. in other words. was still the prevailing crime of the Israelites. more particularly requiring a description of the apparition (whom. against whom the law denounced death — a sentence which had been often executed by Saul himself on similar offenders. he did not himself see). against the witches of the Old Testament sanction. or a necromancer. or a wizard. in any respect. in his desperation. those who have written on this subject have naturally dwelt upon the interview between Saul and the Witch of Endor. consequently. in classical days. nor does the existence of this law. by which course he involved himself in the crime of the person whom he thus consulted. In like manner. into idolatry. and asking counsel of false deities. or an observer of times. which. To illustrate the nature of the Hebrew witch and her prohibited criminal traffic. or an enchanter. The passage alluded to is in Deuteronomy xviii. and judgments. and again it is made manifest that the sorcery or witchcraft of the Old Testament resolves itself into a trafficking with idols. or that useth divination. it is a charge against Manasses (2 Chronicles xxxviii. To understand the texts otherwise seems to confound the modern system of witchcraft. with the crime of the person who. or a consulter with familiar spirits.).” Similar denunciations occur in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of Leviticus. observed times. In another passage. and that the female exclaimed that gods had arisen out of the earth — that Saul. but surely a venial sin in an ignorant and deluded pagan. the practices of those persons termed witches in the Holy Scriptures are again alluded to. and the consciousness of his own unworthy and ungrateful disobedience. They inform us that Saul. 11 — ” There shall not be found among you anyone that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire. 10. the severity of similar enactments subsequent to the Christian revelation. in classing witchcraft among other desertions of the prophets of the Deity. who enjoyed such peculiar manifestations of the Almighty's presence. The Scriptures seem only to have conveyed to us the general fact (being what is chiefly edifying) of the interview between the witch and the King of Israel. against a different class of persons.

Was the power of the witch over the invisible world so great that. taking their chance to prophesy the defeat and death of the broken-spirited king as an event which the circumstances in which he was placed rendered highly probable. and especially that of a prophet so important as Samuel. even while he was clothed with frail mortality. on that memorable occasion. upon whom the Spirit of the Lord was wont to descend. unpleasing. this second solution of the story supposes that the will of the Almighty substituted. It is left still more doubtful whether anything supernatural was actually evoked. It has been supposed that something took place upon this remarkable occasion similar to that which disturbed the preconcerted purpose of the prophet Balaam. since he was surrounded by a superior army of Philistines. It is impossible. which perhaps we ought to accept as a sure sign that there was no utility in our being made acquainted with them. freed from some of the objections which attend the two extreme suppositions. admitting that the apparition had really a supernatural character.described it as the figure of an old man with a mantle. speaking in the character of the prophet. since the supposed spirit of Samuel asks wherefore he was disquieted in the grave. and compelled him to exchange his premeditated curses for blessings. and the command of an apostate prince? Did the true Deity refuse Saul the response of his prophets. some degree of juggling might be permitted between mortals and the spirits of lesser note. On the other band. Or we may conceive that in those days. and are we to suppose that he. she could disturb the sleep of the just. or whether he himself personally ever saw the appearance which the Pythoness described to him. in which case we must suppose that the woman really expected or hoped to call up some supernatural appearance. hears from the apparition. and sinking on his face. the spirit of Samuel in his earthly resemblance — or. and his character as a soldier rendered it likely that he would not survive a defeat which must involve the loss of his kingdom. According to this hypothesis. if the reader may think this more likely. In this figure the king acknowledges the resemblance of Samuel. and could a witch compel the actual spirit of Samuel to make answer notwithstanding? Embarrassed by such difficulties. like the Erictho of the heathen poet. though all is told which is necessary to convey to us an awful moral lesson. the melancholy prediction of his own defeat and death. or whether the Pythoness and her assistant meant to practise a mere deception. another course of explanation has been resorted to. for instance. In this description. yet we are left ignorant of the minutiæ attending the apparition. as it intimated. But in either case. the messenger of the . some good being. should be subject to be disquieted in his grave at the voice of a vile witch. when the laws of Nature were frequently suspended by manifestations of the Divine Power. which. is yet liable to others. it remains equally uncertain what was its nature or by what power it was compelled to an appearance. for the phantasmagoria intended by the witch. to know with certainty whether Saul was present when the woman used her conjuration. the divining woman of Endor was preparing to practise upon Saul those tricks of legerdemain or jugglery by which she imposed upon meaner clients who resorted to her oracle.

in the likeness of the departed prophet — and. indeed. But her existence and her crimes can go no length to prove the possibility that another class of witches. not as a murmuring against the pleasure of Providence. It may be observed that in Ecclesiasticus (xlvi. by their counsel and assistance. This exposition has the advantage of explaining the surprise expressed by the witch at the unexpected consequences of her own invocation.Divine pleasure. exchanged the juggling farce of sheer deceit or petty sorcery which she had intended to produce. and misfortune. since it is said of this man of God. a text occurs indicating the existence of a system of witchcraft. Whatever may be thought of other occasional expressions in the Old Testament. according to that interpretation. or any benevolent angel by whom he might be represented. capable of appalling the heart of the hardened tyrant. till very lately. since neither the prophet. by whom the will of God was at that time regularly made known. grief. for a deep tragedy. however. She was liable. to review this miserable spot of mortality. he obtained the awful certainty of his own defeat and death. wear no stronger sense of complaint than might become the spirit of a just man made perfect. the opinion of Samuel's actual appearance is adopted. to the surprise of the Pythoness herself. it cannot be said that. or perform feats of such magnitude as to alter the face of Nature. and furnishing an awful lesson to future times. The Witch of Endor was a mere fortune-teller. had withdrawn the prophet for a space from the enjoyment and repose of Heaven. If. which. to whom. the words may. in any respect similar to that against which the law-books of so many European nations have. the phrase is understood. It does not apply so well to the complaint of Samuel that he was disquieted. and showed the king his latter end. for a very different and much more doubtful class of offences. or were liable to the same capital punishment. guilt. 19. which were the ultimate cause of Samuel's appearance. and waste the fruits of the earth. that his sins and discontents. under the Jewish dispensation. destroy human lives. and. far less under the Christian dispensation — a system under . and by whom. was not a being such as those believed in by our ancestors. but as a reproach to the prophet's former friend Saul. Leaving the further discussion of this dark and difficult question to those whose studies have qualified them to give judgment on so obscure a subject. who could transform themselves and others into the appearance of the lower animals raise and allay tempests. deservedly to the punishment of death for intruding herself upon the task of the real prophets. while it removes the objection of supposing the spirit of Samuel subject to her influence. in despair of all aid or answer from the Almighty. however odious. it so far appears clear that the Witch of Endor. that after death he prophesied. frequent the company and join the revels of evil spirits. are nevertheless to be proved possible before they can be received as a criminal charge. no otherwise resembling her than as called by the same name. denounced punishment. either existed at a more recent period. nor any good angel wearing his likeness. in some way or other. 20). in any part of that sacred volume. the unfortunate King of Israel had recourse in his despair. could be supposed to complain of an apparition which took place in obedience to the direct command of the Deity.

Saint Paul. the word. which indicate that there was a transgression so called. to acquire knowledge of futurity. With this observation we may conclude our brief remarks upon witchcraft . This proposition comprehends. and facilitate its reception by the exhibition of genuine miracles. and equivalent to resorting to the assistance of soothsayers. and assistance on the part of the diabolical patron. Indeed. support. or similar forbidden arts. or fallen angels. This latter crime is supposed to infer a compact implying reverence and adoration on the part of the witch who comes under the fatal bond. by purchase.which the emancipation of the human race from the Levitical law was happily and miraculously per fected. by which he could only expose his own impudence and ignorance. had the possibility of so enormous a sin been admitted. indeed. under any sense. although. from his presumptuous and profane proposal to acquire. and to overcome and confound the pride of the heathens. to confirm the faith of the Jews. in the four Gospels. the children of men. compared to that of the apostles. than to have made such a fruitless and unavailing proposal. and patronage. and it is plain that a leagued vassal of hell — should we pronounce him such — would have better known his own rank and condition. which. which juxtaposition inclines us to believe that the witchcraft mentioned by the Apostle must have been analogous to that of the Old Testament. the Deity. or call himself a Christian. without believing that. by which the ordinary laws of nature were occasionally suspended. Neither do the exploits of Elymas. but leave us ignorant of its exact nature. it was not likely to escape the warning censure of the Divine Person who came to take away the sins of the world. the permitted agents of such evil as it was his will should be inflicted upon. in the Book of Revelations. And with these occasional notices. every Christian believer is bound to receive as a thing declared and proved to be true. And in the first place. does not occur. called the Sorcerer. wrought in the land many great miracles. and in the offences of the flesh it is ranked immediately after idolatry. mentions the sin of witchcraft. during the course of time comprehended by the Divine writers. or Simon. as superior in guilt to that of ingratitude. the instruments of his pleasure. as excluded from the city of God. It is clear that. entitle them to rank above the class of impostors who assumed a character to which they had no real title. no man can read the Bible. Sorcerers are also joined with other criminals. as the word occurs in the Scripture. using either good spirits. of course. Simon Magus displayed a degree of profane and brutal ignorance inconsistent with his possessing even the intelligence of a skilful impostor. and . the writers upon witchcraft attempt to wring out of the New Testament proofs of a crime in itself so disgustingly improbable. called Magus or the Magician. the acknowledgment of the truth of miracles during this early period. a portion of those powers which were directly derived from inspiration. or suffered by. and it now only remains to mention the nature of the demonology . in a cursory manner. and put their own mystical and ridiculous pretensions to supernatural power in competition with those who had been conferred on purpose to diffuse the gospel. as gathered from the sacred volumes.

might be permitted occasionally to exert. in reason. as.recognises the existence in the spiritual world of the two grand divisions of angels and devils. for example. was endowed with supernatural power. to Mars. as in Isaiah. it is certain. whose object of adoration is the work of his own hands. and the brutish ignorance of the worshipper. that these enemies of mankind had power to assume the shape and appearance of those feeble deities. in their sacrifices to Venus. by their priests or their oracles. Whatever degree of power the false gods of heathendom.. but personifications of certain evil passions of humanity. Secondly. which are thus ascribed to the agency of evil spirits. It corresponds also with the texts of Scripture which declare that the gods of the heathen are all devils and evil spirits. rather. But whatever license it may be supposed was permitted to the evil spirits of that period — and although. rather than the audacious intervention of demons. to worship evil spirits — we cannot. or the thousandth part of the innumerable idols worshipped among the heathen. and trick exhibited by the oracles. wise men have thought and argued that the idols of the heathen were actually fiends. so they also resorted to the use of charms and . The whole system of doubt. and returning. verse 10 et seq . xix. chap. delusion. ver. those who have familiar spirits. undoubtedly. was unquestionably under the general restraint and limitation of providence. and therefore might be said. responses which ” palter'd in a double sense" with the deluded persons who consulted them. men owned the sway of deities who were. it is clear that the greater number fell under the description applied to them in another passage of Scripture. by working seeming miracles. wizards. and to give a certain degree of countenance to the faith of the worshippers. or possessed any manifestation of strength or power. with charmers. on the other. as the backsliders among the Jews repeatedly fell off to the worship of the idols of the neighbouring heathens. on the one hand. a confirmation of many miracles related in pagan or classical history. whether through demoniacal influence or otherwise. or. as well as common sense. and with. This doctrine has the advantage of affording. and though. The precise words of the text. suppose that every one. &c. in fact. we cannot deny the possibility of such permission being granted in cases unknown to us. 2. occurs in the 44th chapter of the prophecies of Isaiah. or devils in their name. This striking passage. that the Scriptures mention no one specific instance of such influence expressly recommended to our belief. and the idols of Egypt are classed. in one sense. in which 6o the impotence of the senseless block. to a certain extent. in which the part of the tree burned in the fire for domestic purposes is treated as of the same power and estimation as that carved into an image. savours of the mean juggling of impostors. and preferred for Gentile homage. forbid us to believe that the images so constructed by common artisans became the habitation or resting-place of demons. Thirdly. to Bacchus. Most of the fathers of the Christian Church have intimated such an opinion. severally exercising their powers according to the commission or permission of the Ruler of the universe.

Peter. we may safely conclude that it was not his pleasure to employ in the execution of his judgments the consequences of any such species of league or compact betwixt devils and deluded mortals. And on the other hand. the fumes produced by broiling the liver of a certain fish are described as having power to drive away an evil genius who guards the nuptial chamber of an Assyrian princess. when their sons and daughters should prophesy. of a capital nature. and other holy seers. to find as it were a byroad to the secrets of futurity. forms a striking instance. But for the same reason that withholds us from delivering any opinion upon the degree to which the devil and his angels might be allowed to countenance the impositions of the heathen priesthood. in the first capacity. if they conducted themselves agreeably to the law which he had given. a crime. We are indeed assured from the sacred writings. was. in which they endeavoured by Sortilege. hails the fulfilment in the mission of our Saviour. his mere appearance upon earth. Ezekiel. by the Levitical law. they had recourse. it is no less evident that the Almighty. these sinful enquiries among the Jews themselves. to punish the disobedience of the Jews. abstaining with reverence from accounting ourselves judges of the actions of Omnipotence. What has been translated by that word seems little more than the art of a medicator of poisons. abandoned them to their own fallacious desires. combined with that of a Pythoness or false prophetess. however. we may observe that. Such were the promises delivered to the Israelites by Joel. and who has strangled seven bridegrooms in succession. it implied great enmity to mankind. or the flight of birds. directed. founded on a superstitious perversion of their own Levitical ritual. direct treason to the divine Legislator. that the communication with the invisible world would be enlarged. without awaiting the fulfilment of his . so far as they had liberty. and we may therefore be excused from entering into discussion on such imperfect evidence. and suffered them to be deceived by the lying oracles. and suffering him to be deceived by a lying spirit. than a part of inspired writing. The book of Tobit contains. a passage resembling more an incident in an Arabian tale or Gothic romance. by the means of Urim and Thummim. and. and in the second. by Teraphim. that the promise of the Deity to his chosen people. and their young men dream dreams. by observation of augury. But the romantic and fabulous strain of this legend has induced the fathers of all Protestant churches to deny it a place amongst the writings sanctioned by divine origin. in considering the incalculable change which took place upon the Advent of our Saviour and the announcement of his law. to which. of which St. indeed. Lastly. Fourthly. it is impossible for us conclusively to pronounce what effect might be permitted by supreme Providence to the ministry of such evil spirits as presided over. which they called Nahas . in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. their old men see visions. since. in flagrant violation of his commands. Of this the punishment arising from the Deity abandoning Ahab to his own devices. according to many wise and learned men. as they approached the nuptial couch. so that in the fulness of his time he would pour out his spirit upon all flesh. as that denounced in the laws of our own ancestors under the name of witchcraft . In this. and on the other hand.enchantments.

in simple prose. In vain with cymbals ring. “ In consecrated earth. and the abuse of their persons. the horrible shapes worshipped by mere barbarians. The Lybic Hammon'shrinks his horn. nor does there appear anything inconsistent in the faith of those who. honoured as it was by a guest so awful. “ And sullen Moloch. With that twice-battered god of Palestine. No nightly trance or breathed spell Inspires the pale-eyed priests from the prophetic cell. And the chill marble seems to sweat. the oracles silenced. The brutish gods of Nile as fast. No voice or hideous hum Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving. believing that. While each. It must be noticed. In what exact sense we should understand this word possession it is impossible to discover. in the elder time. Apollo from his shrine Can no more divine. And the resounding shore. may also give credit to the proposition. even in his own splendid writings. Milton has. haste. From haunted spring and dale. fled. the departure of these pretended deities on the eve of the blessed Nativity: — ” The oracles are dumb. Heaven's queen and mother both. is not certainly to be lightly rejected. And on the holy hearth. In dismal dance about the furnace blue. and the Dog Anubis. ” The lonely mountains o'er. A drear and dying sound Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint. peculiar Power foregoes his wonted seat. but .” it may be upon conviction of its truth. in the ” Paradise Lost. in the case of what is called Demoniacal possession. however. that this great event had not the same effect on that peculiar class of fiends who were permitted to vex mortals by the alienation of their minds. Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine. Edged with poplar pale. And mooned Ashtaroth. by authorities of no mean weight. The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint. embraced the theory which identifies the followers of Satan with the gods of the heathen. or the hieroglyphical enormities of the Egyptian Mythology. with the manifestation of demoniac power. Hath left in shaddws dread His burning idol all of darkest hue. “ Peor and Baalim Forsake their temples dim. The idea of identifying the pagan deities.mission. With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving. so nobly expressed in the poetry of Milton. but it is scarcely possible to shorten what is so beautiful and interesting a description of the heathen deities. whether in the classic personifications of Greece. A voice of weeping heard and loud lament. in one of his earlier pieces. that at the Divine Advent that power was restrained. in a tone of poetry almost unequalled. Isis and Orus. fiends and demons were permitted an enlarged degree of power in uttering predictions. be thus describes. The parting Genius is with sighing sent. especially the most distinguished of them. They call the grisly king. operated as an act of banishment of such heathen deities as had hitherto been suffered to deliver oracles. and those demons who had aped the Divinity of the place were driven from their abode on earth.” The quotation is a long one. The Nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn. and concluding that the descent of our Saviour struck them with silence. With flower-inwoven tresses torn. In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn. and. In urns and altars round. and ape in some degree the attributes of the Deity. It has been asserted.

he personally suffered the temptation in the wilderness at the hand of Satan. x. the most malignant enemies of a power to which they dared not refuse homage and obedience. attested and celebrated their inappreciable mission. to come on earth with great power. without resorting to his divine power. to the snares of an enemy from whom the worst evils were to be apprehended. as the cause of occupying or tormenting the victim. The indulgence which was then granted to him in a case so unique and peculiar soon passed over and was utterly restrained. whom. But it appears. in consequence of the Saviour coming upon earth. silenced. from his presence. the power of the Enemy of mankind was rather enlarged than bridled or restrained. and may be pretty well assured that it was suffered to continue after the Incarnation. in a great proportion of those melancholy cases of witchcraft with which the records of later times abound. it could not consist with his kindness and wisdom to leave the enemy in the possession of the privilege of deluding men by imaginary miracles calculated for the perversion of that faith which real miracles were no longer present to support.we feel it impossible to doubt (notwithstanding learned authorities to the contrary) that it was a dreadful disorder. And here is an additional proof that witchcraft. afforded the most direct proofs of his divine mission. in its ordinary and popular sense. 13. deceiving men's bodily organs. that although Satan was allowed. the stress of the evidence is rested on the declaration of the possessed. be a shocking inconsistency in supposing that false and deceitful prophecies and portents should be freely circulated by any demoniacal influence. even out of the very mouths of those ejected fiends. Such a permission on the part of the Supreme Being would be (to speak under the deepest reverence) an abandonment of His chosen people. upon this memorable occasion. Nor would it consist with the remarkable promise in holy writ. abusing their minds. was unknown at that period. the permission was given expressly because his time was short. yet in no one instance do the devils ejected mention a witch or sorcerer. confuted. while the true religion was left by its great Author devoid of every supernatural sign and token which. or the demon within him. because the miracles effected by our Saviour and his apostles. although cases of possession are repeatedly mentioned in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles. in order that Jesus might have his share in every species of delusion and persecution which the fallen race of Adam is heir to. in curing those tormented in this way. and shamed. of a kind not merely natural. ransomed at such a price. and perverting their faith. we presume to say.” I Cor. — whereas. or plead the commands of such a person. It must also be admitted that in another most remarkable respect. that some old man or woman in the neighbourhood had compelled the fiend to be the instrument of evil. in the time of its Founder and His immediate disciples. It is evident that. It is indisputable that. that ” God will not suffer His people to be tempted above what they are able to bear. after the lapse of the period during which it pleased the Almighty to establish His own Church by miraculous displays of power. he drove. The Fathers of the Faith are not strictly agreed at what period the miraculous . There would.

or down to what precise period in the history of the Christian Church cures of demoniacal possession or similar displays of miraculous power may have occurred. when the Christian religion was fully established in supremacy. We have therefore advanced an important step in our enquiry when we have ascertained that the witch of the Old Testament was not capable of anything beyond the . infecting and blighting children. But it is still more just and equitable. without nearly the same evidence which might conquer the incredulity of their neighbours the Protestants. in comparatively modern times. for what we know. in a word. and the like. If it could be supposed that such unnatural leagues existed. After their conquest and dispersion they were remarked among the Romans for such superstitious practices. as marks of their slightest ill-will. It will be observed that we have not been anxious to decide upon the limits of probability on this question. to prove that there is a possibility of that crime being committed. transforming their own persons and those of others at their pleasure. to become the wretched slaves of infernal spirits. of criminal prosecution and capital punishment. and death itself. may continue to linger among the benighted wanderers of their race at the present day. spreading pestilence among cattle. but few Protestants are disposed to bring it down beneath the accession of Constantine. It is not necessary for us to ascertain in what degree the power of Satan was at liberty to display itself during the Jewish dispensation. boldly affirm that the power of miraculous interference with the course of Nature is still in being. in which. It is alike inconsistent with the common sense of either that fiends should be permitted to work marvels which are no longer exhibited on the part of Heaven. But all these things are extraneous to our enquiry. raising tempests to ravage the crops of their enemies. indeed. doing more evil than the heart of man might be supposed capable of conceiving. and that there were wretches wicked enough. or carryiug them home to their own garners 3 annihilating or transferring to their own dairies the produce of herds. the demon and the witch or wizard combined their various powers of doing harm to inflict calamities upon the person and property. of innocent human beings. We have avoided controversy on that head. as the term was understood in the Middle Ages. though they dare not deny a fundamental tenet of their church. but the enlightened even of this faith. the fortune and the fame. the purpose of which was to discover whether any real evidence could be derived from sacred history to prove the early existence of that branch of demonology which has been the object. and. or in behalf of religion. imposing the most horrible diseases. merely for the gratification of malignant spite or the enjoyment of some beastly revelry. The Roman Catholics. before punishment be inflicted for any crime.power was withdrawn from the Church. Little benefit could arise from attaining the exact knowledge of the manner in which the apostate Jews practised unlawful charms or auguries. by means far beyond mere human power to accomplish. will hardly assent to any particular case. because it com-prehends questions not more doubtful than unedifying. most just and equitable would be those laws which cut them off from the midst of every Christian commonwealth. We have already alluded to this as the contract of witchcraft.

that there were open displays of supernatural aid afforded by the evil spirits to the Turks and Saracens. but already anticipating the privileges proper to a state of beatitude and glory. who were supposed to aid them in their continual warfare against the Christians. They obtained. in a future part of this enquiry. that she did not hold the character ascribed to a modern sorceress. of that mass of errors which appeared among the members of the Christian Church when their religion. we deny the possibility of a crime which was declared capital in the Mosaic law. they had principles lying deep in the human mind and heart of all times. endeavour to show that many of the particular articles of the popular belief respecting magic and witchcraft were derived from the opinions which the ancient heathens entertained as part of their religion. though their profession of faith is exclusively unitarian. in denying the existence of witchcraft. however. and Apollo were. a light indeed. who played his deceptions openly amongst them. and even history. and indeed seems connected with and deduced from the invaluable conviction of the certainty of a future state. were accounted worshippers of evil spirits. in the opinion of the Western Crusaders. and Mahound. though our better instructed period can explain them in a satisfactory manner by the excited temperament of spectators. and possessing the power to work miracles. and are left at full liberty to adopt the opinion. or to protect and defend them in the Holy Land. only so many names of the arch-fiend and his principal angels. We have thus removed out of the argument the startling objection that. favoured the progress of a belief which certainly contributed in a most powerful manner to extend their own authority over the human mind. Romance. To show the extreme grossness of these legends. in other words. either from craft or from ignorance. or the influence of delusions produced by derangement of the intellect or imperfect reports of the external senses. it is very possible that particular stories of this class may have seemed undeniable in the dark ages. becoming gradually corrupted by the devices of men and the barbarism of those nations among whom it was spread showed. but one deeply tinged with the remains of that very pagan ignorance which its Divine Founder came to dispel. where their abode gave so much scandal and offence to the devout. combined in representing all who were out of the pale of the Church as the personal vassals of Satan. we may give an example from the . and fictitious reports were not less liberal in assigning to the Christians extraordinary means of defence through the direct protection of blessed saints and angels. that the more modern system of witchcraft was a part. and by no means the least gross. Moreover. The most enormous fictions spread abroad and believed through Christendom attested the fact. To recommend them. however. universal faith and credit. To pass from the pagans of antiquity — the Mahommedans.administration of baleful drugs or the practising of paltry imposture. or of holy men yet in the flesh. We will. and the churchmen. Termagaunt. the tendency to belief in supernatural agencies is natural.

the foal. and the theological question whether the God of the Christians. with the present of a colt recommended as a gallant warhorse. like other romances. could not obey the signal.romance of ” Richard Coeur de Lion. The enchanted foal was sent to King Richard in the belief that the foal. should be the future object of adoration by the subjects of both monarchs. or Jupiter. so that the legend is a proof of what the age esteemed credible and were disposed to believe as much as if had been extracted from a graver chronicle. armed at all points and with various marks of his religious faith displayed on his weapons. The fiend-horse intimated his submission by drooping his head. for want. But the English king was warned by an angel in a dream of the intended stratagem. The renowned Saladin. and narrowly escaped death. exhibits rude cuts of the fur-clad natives paying homage at the shrines of demons. His ears were stopped with wax. while at other places they are displayed as doing battle with the Teutonic knights. It is but an awkward tale of wonder where a demon is worsted by a trick which could hardly have cheated a common horse-jockey. which was a brute of uncommon size. previously to the combat. Now. for the purpose of deciding at once their pretensions to the land of Palestine. but his word was not entirely credited. and was addressed to hearers and readers. or other military associations formed for the conversion or expulsion of the heathens in these parts. while his army were cut to pieces by the Christians. intimates a similar belief in the connexion of the heathen nations of the north of Europe with the demons of the spiritual world. not as a tale of fiction. that whenever the mare neighed.” premising at the same time that. it was written in what the author designed to be the Style of true history. the chart. In this condition. of an accurate account of the country. conjured in the holy name to be obedient to his rider during the encounter. confident of his stratagem. Lithuania. the fiends are painted as assisting them. obeying the signal of its dam as usual. with the instruction. had dispatched an embassy to King Richard. should kneel down to suck his dam. under this seemingly chivalrous defiance was concealed a most unknightly stratagem. it is said. In Esthonia. till their belief respecting the demons of the Holy Land seems to have been not very far different from that expressed in the title of Ben Jonson's play. whom the wax prevented from hearing the summons. Richard. and which we may at the same time call a very clumsy trick for the devil to be concerned in. Amid the pagans. by the celestial mandate. which appeared at Rome in the sixteenth century. “ The Devil is an Ass. the deity of the Saracens.” One of the earliest maps ever published. but the sucking devil. Saladin was dismounted. challenging Coeur de Lion to meet him in single combat between the armies. Courland. the Soldan who mounted the mare might get an easy advantage over him. rode forth to meet Saladin. . who make themselves. it may be supposed. The mare neighed till she shook the ground for miles around. armed with scimitars and dressed in caftans. encountered him boldly. and the Soldan. but a real narrative of facts. and the colt was. but by such legends our ancestors were amused and interested. visibly present to them. and such districts. A Saracen clerk had conjured two devils into a mare and her colt.

because their manners and even their very existence was unknown when it was adopted. and the hideous form which he had produced resembled an inhabitant of the infernal regions so much more than Our Lady of Grace. and the dragon train alone seems to be connected with the Scriptural history. it may be cursorily noticed. It is scarce necessary to remark that this opinion was founded exclusively upon the tricks practised by the native powahs. that if the image represented the Devil. the first settlers in New England and other parts of that immense continent uniformly agreed that they detected among the inhabitants traces of an intimate connexion with Satan. were nevertheless involved. The sculptor had been so little acquainted with his art. fell under suspicion of diabolical practices. or. while. the understanding of the colonists was unable to trace to their real source — legerdemain and imposture. in the same charge of witchcraft and worship of demons brought by the Christians of the Middle Ages against the heathens of northern Europe and the Mahommedans of the East. he paid his homage to the Holy Virgin.pourtrayed in all the modern horrors of the cloven foot. in their idol worship. and to obtain esteem with the people. and other idols worshipped with human sacrifices and bathed in the gore of their prisoners. * Other heathen nations. saucer eyes. that one of the European officers. locks like serpents. he dropped on his knees. and tail like a dragon. We learn from the information of a Portuguese voyager that even the native Christians (called those of St. bat wings. the worship which the Mexicans paid to them was founded upon such deadly cruelty and dark superstition as might easily be believed to have been breathed into mortals by the agency of hell. Thomas). to raise themselves to influence among the chiefs. themselves intimate the connexion of modern demonology with the mythology of the ancients. The cloven foot is the attribute of Pan — to whose talents for inspiring terror we owe the word panic — the snaky tresses are borrowed from the shield of Minerva. and called on them. whose creeds could not have directly contributed to the system of demonology. In South America the Spaniards justified the unrelenting cruelties exercised on the unhappy natives by reiterating in all their accounts of the countries which they discovered and conquered. and if the images themselves were not actually tenanted by evil spirits. Even in North America. were favoured by the demons with a direct intercourse. possessed as they were professionally of some skill in jugglery and the knowledge of some medical herbs and secrets. that the Indians. like his companions. By the account. whom the discoverers found in India when they first arrived there. as good Christians. . gave but too much probability to this accusation. or cunning men. These attributes. The great snake-god of Mexico. horse's foot. and that their priests inculcated doctrines and rites the foulest and most abhorrent to Christian ears. to adore the Blessed Virgin. added the loud protest. It was almost in vain that the priests of one of their chapels produced to the Portuguese officers and soldiers a holy image. which. so soon as Europeans became acquainted with them. as the Germans term it.

as he might well conceive.however. since himself served another God? that therefore he could not help him. To them. the powah. inform such who desired his assistance. I will try what I can do . from the above and similar passages. his god's continued kindness obliged him not to forsake his service. that parents. Nor were all powahs alike successful in their addresses. so far above his own in power and attainments. with many things of the like nature. after a little pausing. but few obtained their desire. book vi. but encouragement of her husband. demanded why he requested that from him. often dedicated their children to the gods. yet could precisely. observing a certain diet. In so much.' which diverted the man from further enquiry. in his Magnalia . Cotton Mather. that Dr.” It appears. or wizards. an honest and devout. here died one of the powahs. of the Reverend Cotton Mather. This powah. not only by the approbation.. &c. debarring sleep. but they became such. who were esteemed as having immediate converse with the gods. but sufficiently credulous man. had mistaken the purpose of the tolerant powah.: yet of the many designed. as might reasonably infer a corresponding superiority in the nature and objects of their worship. 'If you can believe that my god may help you. nor was he ever known to endeavour to conceal his knowledge to be immediately from a god subservient to him that the English worship. advanced. and attended the public worship on the Lord's days He declared that he could not blame her. they addressed themselves in all difficult cases: yet could not all that desired that dignity.” says the Doctor. She constantly prayed in the family. which tradition had left as conducing to that end. “ They. that this powah's wife was accounted a godly woman. having formerly been an eye-witness of his ability. * he does not ascribe to these Indian conjurers any skill greatly superior to a maker of almanacks or common fortuneteller. that. as they esteemed it. powahs. Among the numberless extravagances of the Scottish Dissenters of the 17th century. desired to advise him who had taken certain goods which had been stolen. there must be given the plainest demonstration of mortals having familiarity with infernal spirits. either by immediate revelation. and educated them accordingly. or in the use of certain rites and ceremonies. from whence goods stolen from them were gone. for that she served a god that was above his. and lived in the practice and profession of the Christian religion. I must a little digress. who never pretended to astrological knowledge. The latter only desired to elude the necessity of his practices being brought under the observant eye of an European. I am willing to let my reader know. “ universally acknowledged and worshipped many gods. Supposing that where the practice of witchcraft has been highly esteemed. and whither carried. and tell my reader. but that as to himself. now canonized in a lump by those who . not many years since. therefore. obtain familiarity with the infernal spirits. and therefore highly esteemed and reverenced their priests. out of zeal. From another narrative we are entitled to infer that the European wizard was held superior to the native sorcerer of North America. but added. being by an Englishman worthy of credit (who lately informed me of the same). while he found an ingenious apology in the admitted superiority which he naturally conceded to the Deity of a people.

though he could not be often accused of toleration. a party of real or imaginary French and Indians exhibited themselves occasionally to the colonists of the town of Gloucester. since we find them honouring this poor madman as their superior. New England. and silence him by a napkin thrust into his mouth. As Meikle John Gibb. This mode of quieting the unlucky heretic. however differently they were affected by the persecution of Government. skirmished repeatedly with the English. in the county of Essex. John Gibb. whenever the prisoners began worship. Gibb headed a party. to avoid the repetition of the discipline. dashed the maniac with his feet and hands against the wall. though sufficiently emphatic. “ He died there. when it applied to themselves. he considered the discipline of the house of correction as more likely to bring the unfortunate Gibbites to their senses than the more dignified severities of a public trial and the gallows.” says Walker. and committed to prison. who followed him into the moorlands. They were apprehended inconsequence. Notwithstanding this inferiority on the part of the powahs. was much admired by the heathen for his familiar converse with the devil bodily. alarmed the country around very greatly. But as these visitants. in general. who was their comrade in captivity. with his own napkin crammed into his mouth. that the magic. This man. Thus. and one or two other men.”* We Must necessarily infer that the pretensions of the natives to supernatural communication could not be of a high class. who sometimes adopted their appearance. who afterwards suffered at the gallows. and there. by whom they . we are assured. or powahing. as an act of solemn adherence to their new faith. were nevertheless much offended that these poor mad people were not brought to capital punishment for their blasphemous extravagances. of the North American Indians was not of a nature to be much apprehended by the British colonists. and caused the raising of two regiments. burned their Bibles. went the wildest lengths of enthusiasm. But on being finally transported to America. in the year 1692. between Airth and Stirling. besides twenty or thirty females who adhered to them. to the great annoyance of the colonists. it occurred to the settlers that the heathen Indians and Roman Catholic Frenchmen were particularly favoured by the demons. and showed themselves in their likeness. sat howling like a chastised cur. and the dispatching a strong reinforcement to the assistance of the settlement. two of them took turn about to hold him down by force. used to disturb their worship in jail by his maniac howling. from his size. and imputed it as a fresh crime to the Duke of York that. called. and beat him so severely that the Test were afraid that he had killed him outright. After which specimen of fraternal chastisement. George Jackson.view them in the general light of enemies to Prelacy. a Cameronian. did their best to correct this scandalous lenity. and offering sacrifices to him. and the rest of the Dissenters. however. ran behind the door. and at the Ford Moss. “ about the year 1720. Meikle John Gibb. a person called Jamie. the lunatic. was a certain ship-master. since the natives themselves gave honour and precedence to those Europeans who came among them with the character of possessing intercourse with the spirits whom they themselves professed to worship. The Cameronians. being deemed ineffectual or inconvenient. and.

” vol. Creed of Zoroaster-Received partially into most Heathen Nations Instances among the Celtic Tribes of Scotland — Beltane Feast — Gudeman's Croft-Such abuses admitted into Christianity after the earlier Ages of the Church-Law of the Romans against Witchcraft — Roman customs survive the fall of their Religion — Instances Demonology of the Northern Barbarians-Niicksas-Bhar-geist-Correspondence between the Northern and Roman Witches — The power of Fascination ascribed to the Sorceresses-Example from the ” Eyrbiggia Saga” — The Prophetesses of the Germans — The Gods of Valhalla not highly regarded by their Worshippers — Often defied by the Champions — Demons of the North — Story of Assueit and Asmund — Action of Ejectment against Spectres — . * It appears. and endeavour to trace from what especial sources the people of the Middle Ages derived those notions which gradually assumed the shape of a regular system of demonology. though varied according to the fancy of particular nations. or diseases to which the human frame is liable — to have been largely augmented by what classic superstitions survived the ruins of paganism-and to have received new contributions from the opinions collected among the barbarous nations. end preserved in his museum at Veletri. existed through all Europe. article xviii.” LETTER III. engraved in bronze about the end of the 15th century.were plagued more than a fortnight. for the molestation of the colony. though they exchanged fire with the settlers. presenting the same general outlines. although seemingly not enabled effectually to support it. but that the devil and his agents had assumed such an appearance. whether of the east or of the west. In a word. that the ideas of superstition which the more ignorant converts to the Christian faith borrowed from the wreck of the classic mythology. that the commonly received doctrine of demonology. it may be safely laid down. p. 23.” * See Patrick Walker's ” Biographia Presbyteriana. It is now necessary to enter more minutely into the question.” upon the article John Gibb. and that as well within the limits of Europe as in every other part of the globe to which their arms were carried. from its possessor. * “Magnalia. * “On Remarkable Mercies of Divine Providence. were so rooted in the minds of their successors. ii. It seems to have been founded originally on feelings incident to the human heart.” and Wodrow's ” History. then. and called the Borgian Table. the English became convinced that they were not real Indians and Frenchmen.” book vii. that these found corroboration of their faith in demonology in the practice of every pagan nation whose destiny it was to encounter them as enemies. Cardinal Stephen Borgia. never killed or scalped any one. also “ God's judgment upon Persecutors. * The chart alluded to is one of the facsimiles of an ancient planisphere. The fact is also alleged in the ” Life of Sir William Phipps.

In many parishes of Scotland there was suffered to exist a certain portion of land. be offensive to the stern inhabitant of the regions of despair. Europe seems to have been originally peopled. trusting with indifference to the well-known mercy of the one. when Mr. the ceremony of the Baaltein. or passing into mere popular customs of the country. perhaps. might be merciful to suppliants who had acknowledged their power. while it was generally understood.Adventure of a Champion with the Goddess Freya — Conversion of the Pagans of Iceland to Christianity — Northern Superstitions mixed with those of the Celts — Satyrs of the North-Highland Ourisk-Meming the Satyr. THE creed of Zoroaster. Though it was not expressly avowed. that it was the portion of the arch-fiend himself. but suffered to remain waste. by whom. could not. yet they thought it worth while to propitiate them by various expiatory rites and prayers. . Remains of these superstitions might be traced till past the middle of the last century. Beltane. under various denominations. Pennant made his tour. supposes the co-existence of a benevolent and malevolent principle. which naturally occurs to unassisted reason as a mode of accounting for the mingled existence of good and evil in the visible world — that belief which. leads the fear and awe deeply impressed on the human mind to the worship as well of the author of evil. like the TEMENOS of a pagan temple. or rather the being whose agents they were. might spare the flocks and herds. as to that of his great opponent. in one modification or another. whom our ancestors distinguished by a name which. and deprecated their vengeance. a natural tendency to the worship of the evil principle. The Celtic tribes. Nay. or consider the malignant divinities as sufficiently powerful to undertake a direct struggle with the more benevolent gods. that they. They did not. which was never ploughed or cultivated. About 1769. and the cake. in fact. though fast becoming obsolete. in common with other savages. which the peasantry observe without thinking of their origin. which was then baken with scrupulous attention to certain rites and forms. which contend together without either being able decisively to prevail over his antagonist. possessed. who is loved and adored as the father of all that is good and bountiful. adore Arimanes under one sole name. was yet in strict observance. * Another custom of similar origin lingered late among us. or First of May. though varying in different districts of the Highlands. such is the timid servility of human nature that the worshippers will neglect the altars of the Author of good rather than that of Arimanes. so tremendous in all the effects of which credulity accounts him the primary cause. while they shrink from the idea of irritating the vengeful jealousy of the awful father of evil. which were formally dedicated to birds or beasts of prey that they. called the gudeman' croft. This was so general a custom that the Church published an ordinance against it as an impious and blasphemous usage. was divided into fragments. and the elementary tempests which they conceived to be under their direct command. no one doubted that ” the goodman's croft” was set apart for some evil being. it was supposed.

and at the same time exposing them to persecution. it may at first sight seem strange that the Christian religion should have permitted the existence of such gross and impious relics of heathenism. they were liable. whenever a. as of cures. as well of language. For the same reason the mounts called Sith Bhruaith were respected. entered because Christianity was the. for the purpose of authenticating their mission. finally. but the high price of agricultural produce during the late war renders it doubtful if a veneration for greybearded superstition has suffered any one of them to remain undesecrated. and it was deemed unlawful and dangerous to cut wood. who christened them by hundreds in one day? Still less could we imagine them to have acquired a knowledge of Christianity. exchanged the errors of the pagan religion for the dangers and duties incurred by those who embraced a faith inferring the self-denial of its votaries. many such places. because. or otherwise disturb them. On the contrary. to be detected and punished. invested for the purpose with miraculous powers. upon conviction. as well as in Scotland. as when the church consisted of a few individuals. to compel reluctant belief. If this was the case. ploughshare entered the soil. the readiest and the soundest instruction. the members of which rose most readily to promotion — many. who. among the earlier members of the church. but there must still be many alive who. who had. sanctified to barrenness by some favourite popular superstition.This singular custom sunk before the efforts of the clergy in the seventeenth century. which they inconsistently laboured to unite with the more simple and majestic faith that disdained such impure union. as was frequently the . both in Wales and Ireland. in childhood. when. in the genuine and perfect sense of the word. have been taught to look with wonder on knolls and patches of ground left uncultivated. where the converts to the Christian faith must have found. like Ananias and Sapphira. in a. the elementary spirits were supposed to testify their displeasure by storm and thunder. and when hypocrites ventured. These converts must have been in general such elect persons as were effectually called to make part of the infant church. land where its doctrines had obtained universal credence. and its cause no longer required the direction of inspired men. prevailing faith — many because it was the church. the nations who were converted after Christianity had become the religion of the empire were not brought within the pale upon such a principle of selection. bow much more imperfectly could those foreign and barbarous tribes receive the necessary religious information from some zealous and enthusiastic preacher. existed. Within our own memory. many of them. dig earth and stones.* Now. When the cross became triumphant. or the evidence of miracles. But this will not appear so wonderful when it is recollected that the original Christians under the heathen emperors were called to conversion by the voice of apostles and saints. even in the Roman empire. it is evident that the converts who thronged into the fold must have. at the Divine pleasure. for communicating their doctrine to the Gentiles. to intrude themselves into so select an association. though content to resign the worship of pagan divinities. could not at once clear their minds of heathen ritual and heathen observances.

therefore. as enemies of the human race — yet the reason of this severe treatment seems to be different from that acted upon in the Mosaical institutions. were desirous to place a check upon the mathematics (as they termed the art of divination). Such hasty converts. at that time held the title which now distinguishes the most exact) as a damnable art. moved chiefly by the danger arising to the person of the prince and the quiet of the state. much more for a political than a religious cause. would have been a crime of a deep dye in a Christian convert. and must have subjected him to excommunication. we shall be led to conclude that the civil law does not found upon the prohibitions and penalties in Scripture. we look more closely into this enactment. might be of opinion that. and utterly interdicted. since we observe. the laws of the empire could have been supposed to have had any influence over those fierce barbarians. so apt to be unsettled by every pretence or encouragement to innovation.case. and their treason against the theocracy instituted by Jehovah. how often the dethronement or death of the sovereign was produced by conspiracies or mutinies which took their rise from pretended prophecies. they had not renounced the service of every inferior power. In this mode of viewing the crime. “ Let the unlawful curiosity of prying into futurity. he shall be punished capitally who disobeys our commands in this matter. The Roman legislators were. they only assumed the profession of the religion that had become the choice of some favoured chief. the lawyers of the lower empire acted upon the example of those who had compiled the laws of the twelve tables. The reigning emperors. * For. taking the offence of alleged magicians and sorcerers in the same light in which it was viewed in the law of Moses. but neither weaned from their old belief. The weight of the crime among the Jews was placed on the blasphemy of the diviners. Some compromise between the fear and the conscience of the new converts. had denounced death against any who used these unlawful enquiries into futurity. “ be silent in every one henceforth and for ever. the disciples . whose example they followed in mere love and loyalty. and declares that the practitioners therein should die by fire. he was at liberty to fear them in their new capacity of fiends. martyrs. although it condemns the ars mathematica (for the most mystic and uncertain of all sciences. Phidyle. however.* The mistaken and misplaced devotion which Horace recommends to the rural nymph. and accustomed to a plurality of deities. nor instructed in their new one. and confessors. they might have been told that Constantine. without. If. as one relapsed to the rites of paganism.” If. subjected to the avenging sword of the law. in the history of the empire. some of them who bestowed unusual thought on the matter.” says the law. perhaps. at a time when the church no longer consisted exclusively of saints. professing themselves Christians. attaching more consequence to a change of religion than to a change of garments. indeed. who conceived that the empire itself lay before them as a spoil. entered the sanctuary without' laying aside the superstitions with which their young minds had been imbued. in adopting the God of the Christians. on the other hand. real or pretended. but he might indulge his superstition by supposing that though he must not worship Pan or Ceres as gods.

Vandals. words. are in existence even at this late and enlightened period. and we ought rather to wonder and admire the Divine clemency. even of the better rank. have adopted many gross superstitions. called Gibbites. This prejudice was so looted among the Scots that. When such belief in a hostile principle and its imaginations was become general in the Roman empire. among a long list of stated festivals. is lifted over the threshold. a set of enthusiasts. borrowed from the pagans. names of the months. and even their priestly guides.of inspired Apostles. In like manner. not forgetting. popish relics. or retained numbers of those which had made part of their own national forms of heathenism. which imparted to so rude nations the light of the Gospel. whom they had succeeded. in addition to the Beltane and those already noticed. where it was observed as keeping in memory the rape of the Sabines. appear so peculiarly favourable for that purpose. the ignorance of its conquerors. to resort as a charm. led them. however fit a season for courtship. if not as an act of worship. and belong to this class: The bride. subject like themselves to human passions and errors. and to step on it or over it voluntarily is reckoned a bad omen. which. at the same time. On the same occasion a sweet cake. Thus. which is also a rite of classic antiquity. proposed to renounce it. although those by whom they are practised have not preserved the least memory of their original purpose. The following customs still linger in the south of Scotland. those wild nations. to those sacrifices. and ritual. that the union was formed within this interdicted month. pretended to arrest evil or procure benefits. the Scottish. made them prone to an error which there were few judicious preachers to warn them against. It was specially objected to the marriage of Mary with the profligate Earl of Bothwell. This custom was universal in Rome. and disposed them to receive a religion so repugnant to their warlike habits. baked for the purpose. is also borrowed from the Roman pagans. and similar classes of unrefined humanity. would have been an additional reason for their anathema against the practice. in 1684.* . when she enters the house of her husband. than that they should. fast-days. the profane names of the days of the week. Huns. The ancients have given us as a maxim. fragments of their worship and many of their rites survived the conversion to Christianity — nay. Franks. This objection to solemnize marriage in the merry month of May. and that it was by a show of violence towards the females that the object of peopling the city was attained. We may hastily mention one or two customs of classical origin. avoid contracting marriage in the month of May. is broken above the head of the bride. by which the heathen. in other respects. though the thrones of Jupiter and the superior deities of the heathen Pantheon were totally overthrown and broken to pieces. and at least to the whole which was to the south of the wall of Severus. had these fanatics been aware of it. and all sorts of idle and silly practices which their tender consciences took an exception to. that it is only had women who marry in that month. Goths. which remain as examples that the manners of the Romans once gave the tone to the greater part of the island of Britain. which genial season of flowers and breezes might.

call down the moon from her appointed sphere. and if it be true. Such hags were frequent agents in the violation of unburied bodies. and possesses a larger portion of his powers and terrors The British sailor. as his name implies. The Nixa of the Germans is one of those fascinating and lovely fays whom the ancients termed Naiads. they derived from thence a shoal of superstitious beliefs. which. who took from them the most choice ingredients composing their charms.The custom of saying God bless you. it must not be forgotten that these frightful sorceresses possessed the power of transforming themselves and others into . its original derivation had not then been forgotten. and it was believed. Nixas. and the hope that. a river or ocean god. fostered and formed the materials of a demonological creed which has descended down almost to our own times. of Teutonic descent. or Bhar-geist. seems to have taken uncontested possession of the attributes of Neptune. But besides these. or Nicksa. derived from sternutation being considered as a crisis of the plague at Athens. and which it is not our object to investigate. in their armorial bearings. Amid the twilight winters and overpowering tempests of these gloomy regions. Danes. and other sorceresses. Canidia. her temper is generally mild and her actions beneficent. and the supernatural character with which he was invested has descended to our time under two different aspects. intercept the influence of the sun. in like manner. by the vulgar at least. however the word may have been selected for a proper name. The Bhar-guest. he had been not unnaturally chosen as the power most adverse to man. that some families bearing the name of Dobie carry a phantom or spectre. as the author has been informed.* it plainly implies that. and particularly in Yorkshire. who fears nothing else. Above all. by which name it is generally acknowledged through various country parts of England. and prevent his beneficial operation upon the fruits of the earth. worshipped on the shores of the Baltic. is. whose spells could perplex the course of the elements. blended and mingled with those which they brought with them out of their own country. also called a Dobie — a local spectre which haunts a particular spot under various forms — is a deity. and unless her pride is insulted or her jealousy awakened by an inconstant lover. The Old Nick known in England is an equally genuine descendant of the northern sea-god. whose dispositions were supposed as dark and wayward as their realms were gloomy and dismal. and disturb the original and destined course of Nature by their words and charms and the power of the evil spirits whom they invoked. when it was attained the patient had a chance of recovery. that it was dangerous to leave corpses unguarded lest they should be mangled by the witches. when a person in company sneezes. They recognized the power of Erictho. and believes him the author of almost all the various calamities to which the precarious life of a seaman is so continually exposed. They were also professionally implicated in all such mystic and secret rites and ceremonies as were used to conciliate the favour of the infernal powers. The classic mythology presented numerous points in which it readily coalesced with that of the Germans. and Northmen of a later period. passant. and many other customs which the various nations of Europe received from the classical times. confesses his terror for this terrible being.

augmented as one of Katla's maidens.” Accordingly. by putting Oddo to death. which are used in their degree of quadrupeds. “ that distaff was the man you sought. ascribe all these powers to the witches of the pagan world. the hostile party. was accounted not an act of impiety.animals. On the contrary. “ Alas !” said Katla. Their matrons possessed a high reputation for magic. as we are assured by Tacitus. that it was no . combining them with the art of poisoning and of making magical philtres to seduce the affections of the young and beautiful. and put him to death. the conquerors of the Roman Empire combined them with similar articles of belief which they had brought with them from their original settlements in the North. for creating illusions. returned deceived by the skill of hismother. “ Fools. which grovelled among the ashes. But in thus adopting the superstitions of the ancients. spinning flax from a large distaff. This peculiarity in the habits of the North was so general. In the northern ideas of witches there was no irreligion concerned with their lore. A third time he was a hog. The party returned yet again. such as Lucian and Apuleius. They had found only Katla. There is a remarkable story in the Eyrbiggia Saga (“ Historia Eyranorum"). It requires but a slight acquaintance with these compositions to enable the reader to recognize in the Galdrakinna of the Scalds the Stryga or witch-woman of more classical climates. But this second time. informed her mistress. the witch disguised her son under the appearance of a tame kid. named Katla. the people of the Middle Ages ascribed to the witches of their day. and to intrude themselves upon a deity. and even obtained a share in the direction of their armies. Neither are those prophetesses to be forgotten. with authors of fiction. that. they rose to the highest rank in their councils by their supposed supernatural knowledge. if not capable of transformations of the human body. in greater or less extent. for prophetic powers.* This species of witchcraft is well known in Scotland as the glamour . one of whom was determined on discovering and putting to death the son of the other.” They returned. they said. where the existence of hags of the same character formed a great feature in their Sagas and their Chronicles. against whom spells avail not. they were at least able to impose such fascination on the sight of their enemies as to conceal for a period the objects of which they were in search. and. and was supposed to be a special attribute of the race of Gipsies. entering for the fourth time. by one in a blue mantle. and compel him to instruct them in what they desired to know. seized on the object of their animosity. The poets of the heathens. but of gallantry and high courage. the possession of magical knowledge was an especial attribute of Odin himself. who kept watch.” said Geirada. giving the result of such a controversy between two of these gifted women. seized the distaff. and burn it. among those sons of the sword and the spear. and such were the characteristics which. so much honoured among the German tribes. or in whatever other laborious occupation belongs to the transformed state. A party detached to avenge this wrong. who in a brawl had cut off the hand of the daughter-in-law of Geirada. or deceptio visus . “ it is the sorceress Geirada.

who had fought. by Gaukater. a tribe to whom the others yielded the palm of valour. arise to the degree of HAXA. as we have already hinted. King of Norway. “ Know this. the more they were detested. they became dreaded for their power. with the more indifference. and many individual stories are told in the Sagas concerning bold champions.” who threatens ” to make a god subscribe himself a devil. Such.” Such chieftains were of the sect of Mezentius — “ Dextra: mihi Deus. from which comes the word Hexe. and with like success. from respect to their supposed views into futurity. I therefore put my sole trust in my own strength of body and courage of soul. and have never been conquered by them. encountered the god Thor in battle. Their idea of their own merely human prowess was so high. Bartholsine* gives us repeated examples of the same kind. was the idea of tbe Germans concerning the Suevi. of course. was never of a very reverential or devotional character. either despised as impostors or feared as sorceresses. if not victorious. when their mythology was most generally established. I have travelled through various strange countries. in the Iliad. quod missile libro. and have encountered many giants and monsters.unusual thing to see females. that the champions made it their boast. if they pretended to retain their influence. now universally used for a witch. we learn from Cæsar. or Swabians. and come off unharmed. resembling that proposed by Drawcansir in the “ Rehearsal. but for that very reason they became odious so soon as the tribe was converted to Christianity. The deities of the northern heathens underwent a similar metamorphosis. Hother.* It is undeniable that these Pythonesses were held in high respect while the pagan religion lasted.” The warriors of the North received this new impression concerning the influence of their deities. engages with Mars. not only with the sorcerers. Olaus. under the conviction that they derived it from the enemy of man. My comrades and I profess no other religion than a perfect confidence in our own strength and invincibility in battle. They were. “ that I believe neither in idols nor demons. and the degree of divine inspiration which was vouchsafed to them. careless oftheir gods while yet acknowledged as such. a circumstance which plainly shows that the mythological system of the ancient natives of the North had given to the modern language an appropriate word for distinguishing those females who had intercourse with the spiritual world. or chief priestess. they would not give way in fight even to the immortal gods themselves. in particular instances. “ I am neither Pagan nor Christian. in the contest. Nunc adsint!” And we cannot wonder that champions of such a character. and the source from which it was derived. readily regarded them asdemons after their conversion to Christianity. as Diomede. . as their worship. and the more that. but with the demigods of the system. for example. et telum.” Another yet more broad answer was made to St.” said Kiartan to Olaus Trigguasen.

the body of Assueit wasplaced in the dark and narrow house. that is. in many instances. that after the death of either. as alreadyhinted. Thesoldiers who had witnessed this singular interment of the dead andliving. Years passed away after years. its departurewas occasionally supplied by a wicked demon.The tomb was formed after the ancient northern custom in what was calledthe age of hills. perhaps. which.the blood of victims. or champions. having been slain in battle. introduced into the tomb the war-horses of thechampions. that when the soul left the body. when it was usual to bury persons ofdistinguished merit or rank on some conspicuous spot.compelled to submit to their mere mortal strength. but binding them bya solemn compact. or perhaps. and then. rolled a huge stone to the mouth of the tomb.To incur the highest extremity of danger became accounted a proof ofthat insuperable valour for which every Northman desired to be famed. whom the Kiempé. extravagant as it is. He set hissoldiers to work. possesses something striking tothe imagination. and fiends. his companion. bound upon some high adventure and supported by a gallantband of followers. partly because. poured forth. and consent tobe buried alongst with him. and when these rites had been duly paid. because itwas a favourite fancy of theirs that. Here they deposited arms. and yield to theirservice the weapons or other treasures which they guarded in theirtombs. tobe the apartment of the future tomb over which the sepulchral heap wasto be piled. The story was told to the strangers. partly to attain the arms and swords ofproof with which the deceased had done their great actions. with loud lamentation for the loss of such undauntedleaders. Upon such a supposition the wild fiction that follows is probablygrounded. With this purpose a deep narrow vault was constructed. and piled so muchearth and stones above the spot as made a mound visible from a greatdistance. Assueit. without a word or look whichtestified regret or unwillingness to fulfil his fearful engagement. trophies. the change fromlife to death altered the temper of the human spirit from benignant tomalevolent. and a century had elapsed ere a nobleSwedish rover. while his faithful. the survivor shoulddescend alive into the sepulchre of his brother-in-arms. which was crownedwith a mound.witches.and their annals afford numerous instances of encounters with ghosts. The Norsemen were the more prone to these superstitions. Saxo Grammaticus tells us of the fame of two Norseprinces or chiefs. arrived in the valley which took its name from thetomb of the brethren-in-arms. who had formed what was called a brotherhood in arms. they dispersed themselves like a flock which has lost itsshepherd. whoseleader determined on opening the sepulchre. and laid bare the entrance. and soon removed the earth and stones from one side ofthe mound.implying not only the firmest friendship and constant support during allthe adventures which they should undertake in life. The task of fulfilling this dreadful compactfell upon Asmund. it was reckoned a heroic action to brave the anger of departedheroes by violating their tombs. who took the opportunity toenter and occupy its late habitation. But the stoutest . furies. brother-in-armsentered and sat down by the corpse.

anddefended himself manfully against Assueit. some one threw him from the cord. with the improvisatory poetic talent. whenthey had obtained possession of a building. nor were amenable to the prayers of the priest or the spells of the sorcerer. a stake through his body. hadfinally reduced him to the state of quiet becoming a tenant of the tomb. as he boasted. In this manner the livingbrother waged a preternatural combat. threw himselfupon the companion who had just given him such a sign of devotedfriendship. inspired by some ravenous goule. About the commencement of winter. the clang of armour. and took his place in thenoose. The Northern people also acknowledged a kind of ghosts. which. The Eyrbiggia. * The precautions taken against Assueit's reviving asecond time. was depositedthere. the left side of his face almost scratched off. and the ashes dispersed to heaven. in order to treat him in the same manner. so that it was hoped his slumbers might remain undisturbed. instead of the silence of a tomb. A young warriorwas let down into the profound tomb by a cord. beheld Asmund.did not defend themselves against mortals on the knightly principle ofduel. The molestation was produced by the concurrence of certain mystical and spectral phenomena. calculated to introduce such persecution. soon after the settlement of that island. took to his arms. or rather against the evildemon who tenanted that champion's body. the survivor of the brethren-in-arms. Saga acquaints us.which these champions often united with heroic strength and bravery. the clash of swords. bepoured forth. asby the talons of some wild beast. exposed to a persecution of this kind. like Assueit. in hopes of news from beneath. but became tractable when properly convened in a legal process. sweeping off several . when Asmund.Having chanted the triumphant account of his contest and victory. no waydiscountenanced by the horrors of his situation. than. they heard withinhorrid cries. It seems that no sooner was thesepulchre closed than the corpse of the slain Assueit arose from theground. his armour halftorn from his body. originally to keep it secure in the tomb. He had no sooner appeared in the light of day. thismangled conqueror fell dead before them. Herushed into the open air. The hero. burnt. whilst thatof the victor. at last obtaining the victory.of the roversstarted back when. When the rope was pulled up. who. and by driving. a contagious disease arose in a family of consequence and in the neighbourhood. But when the adventurerdescended. remind us of those adopted in the Greek islands and in theTurkish provinces against the vampire. a string of verses containing the history of his hundredyears' conflict within the tomb. with that slight exchange of darkness and twilight which constitutes night and day in these latitudes. and all thenoise of a mortal combat between two furious champions. which was drawn upshortly after. that the mansion of a respectable landholder in Iceland was. It affords also a derivation ofthe ancient English law in case of suicide. prostrated hisenemy. when a stake was driventhrough the body. instead of theircompanion. now lifeless and without a companion. the soldiers. his sword drawn in his hand. or the right of haunting if. The body of Assueit was takenout of the tomb. and having first torn to piecesand devoured the horses which had been entombed with them. which had endured during a wholecentury.

and his discourse with the priestess. and muttering some regrets at being obliged to abandon their dwelling. those of the living family who ventured abroad. in which the goddess Freya (i. By a certain signal the divinity summoned the priestess to the sanctuary. who exercised considerable influence in the island. By his counsel. But the remaining inhabitants of the place. like a modern caravan travelling with a show. was travelling from one district of the country to another. and produce their aërial forms and wasted physiognomy. in an Iceland winter. as if to judge an ordinary civil matter.c. and abandon their warm seats. and even assaulting. met with a huge waggon. a young. from the astonished inquest. even in the stove where the fire was maintained for the general use of the inhabitants. a gigantic idol formed to represent her). chose rather to withdraw to the other extremity of the house.members of the family at different times. Judgment then went against the ghosts by default.* It was not only with the spirits of the dead that the warlike people of the North made war without timidity. The shrine. seemed to threaten them all with death. to show by what warrant they disputed with him and his servants the quiet possession of his property. and what defence they could plead for thus interfering with and incommoding the living. Complaints were at length made to a pontiff of the god Thor. But the death of these persons was attended with the singular consequence that their spectres were seen to wander in the neighbourhood of the mansion-house. These daring champions often braved the indignation even of the superior deities of their mythology. the ghosts took it upon them to enter the house. good-looking. and attractive woman. and successfully entered into suits of ejectment. terrifying. departed. terrified by the intrusion of these spectres. and in order as summoned. It chanced. in crossing a desolate ridge of mountains. to cite individually the various phantoms and resemblances of the deceased members of the family. Such is the singular story how a young man of high courage. and proceeded. by name. or inquest. who presently . obtained a triumph unknown to any of the great writers who have made it the subject of eulogy. as a guide and companion on the journey. named Snorro. The traveller naturally associated himself with the priestess. screened by boards and curtains from the public gaze. is the only comfortable place of assembling the family. that the presence of the champion. of his neighbours. apparently was in no degree displeased with the company of a powerful and handsome young man. and which. . and the trial by jury. appeared on their being called. however. in their presence. and the wealthy offerings attached to it. or sanctuary of the idol. As the number of the dead members of the devoted household seemed to increase in proportion to that of the survivors. as she walked on foot. than to endure the neighbourhood of the phantoms. was. the young proprietor of the haunted mansion assembled a jury. rather than allow that there existed any being before whom their boldness could quail. together with her shrine. was less satisfactory to the goddess than to the parties principally concerned. The spectres of the dead. or vanished. of which we here can trace the origin. constituted in the usual judicial form. who. and the equipage was under the immediate guidance of the priestess of Freya.

as the necessary consequence of the vengeance of their deities. Neither does it appear that Freya. and. dealt him. The priestess. having. who. Snorro. resembled in form the giant created by Frankenstein. of no deep or respectful character. in consideration of a single disputation between the heathen priests and the Christian missionaries. The national estimation of deities. The priests threatened the island with a desolating eruption of the volcano called Hecla.” said the priestess. with its wooden hands and arms. but being unable to compel him to obey the goddess's mandate.” “ Nevertheless. concerning whom such stories could be told and believed.” said the champion. She accompanied him to the district whither he was travelling. and there displayed the shrine of Freya. and no longer travel in their company. which advanced to such a point that a clattering noise within the tabernacle. thought a personal interruption of this tête-à-tête ought to be deferred no longer. they again relapsed into familiarity. took possession of the female and the baggage. rushing on the in trusive traveller. as of machinery put in motion. The curtains flew open. and the demon which had animated it fled yelling from the battered tenement. the divinity of whose patroness had been by the event of the combat sorely lessened in her eyes. The champion was now victor. leapt lumbering from the carriage. besides appropriating to himself most of the treasures which the sanctuary had formerly contained. of course.returned. with tears in her eyes and terror in her countenance. a sensible recollection of the power of the axe. Freya. that at length he split the head of the image. “ You must have mistaken the meaning of the goddess. nor can I conceal from you that she may personally assault you. to choose precipitous paths and by-roads. where I may break my neck. and the massive and awkward idol. “ the goddess will be highly offended if you disobey her commands. ever again ventured to appear in person for the purpose of calling her false stewards to account. and was present on the occasion. taking care to hide the injuries which the goddess had received in the brawl. according to the law of arms.” ” It will be at her own peril if she should be so audacious. who perhaps had some qualities in common with the classical Vesta. and as the conference was held on the surface of what had been . and their whole pagan mythology. and with a severe blow hewed off its left leg. The champion came in for a share of a gainful trade driven by the priestess. ” Freya cannot have formed a wish so unreasonable as to desire I should abandon the straight and good road.” said the champion. which leads me directly on my journey. But the champion was armed with a double edged Danish axe. had become a convert to the Christian religion. as were equally difficult to parry or to endure. to inform her companion that it was the will of Freya that he should depart. The image of Freya then fell motionless to the ground.” The priestess chid him for his impiety. was. The Icelanders abandoned Odin. we may suppose. perhaps. Thor. intimated to the travellers that Freya. the same who advised the inquest against the ghosts. and. was now easily induced to become the associate and concubine of the conqueror. “ for I will try the power of this axe against the strength of beams and boards. with which he bestirred himself with so much strength and activity. such tremendous blows.

as indeed the same high claim was made by the satyr who appeared to St. the nether extremities being in the latter form. but rather a melancholy spirit. . to any particular resemblance between the character of these deities and that of Satan.a stream of lava. as the same plants are found in distant countries without the one. to whom one is said to have appeared in the desert. or Asiatics. of whom they believed so much that was impious. and tail. was received among the Northern people. “ To what was the indignation of the gods owing when the substance on which we stand was fluid and scorching? Believe me. for example. to consider their former deities. men of Iceland. or rather hole. before their migration from Asia. So that the alteration of a single word would render Pope's well-known line more truly adapted to the fact. the ourisk of the Celts was a creature by no means peculiarly malevolent or formidably powerful. On the contrary. or Celtic ourisk. But there were some particulars of the Northern creed in which it corresponded so exactly with that of the classics as leaves room to doubt whether the original Asæ. in the light of evil demons. is even pretended to be proved by the evidence of Saint Anthony. and is not the engine of vengeance intrusted to Thor and Odin. and whose supernatural pranks intimate rather a wish to inflict terror than to do hurt. the horns. with which they have depicted the author of evil when it pleased him to show himself on earth. and his attendants something between a man and a goat. having obtained the seed from the others. If we are to identify him with the Brown Dwarf of the Border moors. as far as can be discovered. in the rock. The existence of a satyr. now covered with vegetable substances. the ourisk has a mortal term of life and a hope of salvation. hoofs. the founders of the Scandinavian system. The classical fiction. and perhaps transferred by them to the Celtic tribes. he answered the priests with much readiness. of the satyrs and other subordinate deities of wood and wild.” We cannot attribute the transferrence of the attributes of the Northern satyr. the eruption of the volcano depends on natural circumstances now as it did then. or whether. whose power is rather delusive than formidable. had.” It is evident that men who reasoned with so much accuracy concerning the imbecility of Odin and Thor were well prepared. on abandoning their worship. respecting a goblin called Ourisk . A species of cavern. to the arch-fiend. the same proneness of the human mind to superstition has caused that similar ideas are adopted in different regions. whose form is like that of Pan. It is not the least curious circumstance that from this silvan deity the modern nations of Europe have borrowed the degrading and unsuitable emblems of the goat's visage and form. should we venture to read — “And Pan to Satan lends his heathen born. affords to the wildest retreat in the romantic neighbourhood of Loch Katrine a name taken from classical superstition. on the other hand. derived them from some common Source with those of the Greeks and Romans. which dwelt in wildernesses far removed from men. in the silvan form. The Scottish Gael have an idea of the same kind. It is an idea which seems common to many nations.

Even the genius of Guido and of Tasso have been unable to surmount this prejudice. or Highland satyr. and demanded the Miller's name.” a tale which. He was an armourer of extreme dexterity. which we cannot account for. The genius of Milton alone could discard all these vulgar puerilities. and assign to the author of evil the terrible dignity of one who should seem not “less than archangel ruined. from the shores of the Mediterranean to those of Loch Lomond. It is related of one of these goblins which frequented a mill near the foot of Loch Lomond. and being there overtaken. on which is founded a story almost exactly like that of OUTIS in the “Odyssey. desiring to get rid of this meddling spirit. was compelled to forge the sword which Fingal afterwards wore in all his battles. the High land ourisk was a species of lubber fiend. even in that lowest degradation. but which we are astonished to find in an obscure district.* From this it will appear that there were originals enough in the mythology of the Goths. that the miller. once gained a victory by disguising a part of his men with goat-skins. He may be. and the weapons which he forged were of the highest value. is by no means. The ourisk then entered. an elegant or ingenious fiction. identified with the recusant smith who fled before Fingal from Ireland to the Orkneys. power. as well as Celts. But as club-law pervaded the ancient system of Scandinavia. the more rooted. to furnish the modern attributes ascribed to Satan in later times. whom it was the boast of the highest champions to seek out in the solitudes which he inhabited. when the object of painter or poet was to display him in his true form and with all his terrors. Moreover. seeming to argue some connexion or communication between these remote Highlands of Scotland and the readers of Homer in former days.” This species of degradation is yet grosser when we take into consideration the changes which . and in the Celtic tongue. I think. perhaps. There was an individual satyr called. and which was called the Son of the dark brown Luno. so as to resemble the ourisk . where he represents the divan of darkness in the enchanted forest as presided over by a monarch having a huge tail. In Raffael's famous painting of the archangel Michael binding Satan. perhaps. and angelic character expressed by the seraph form an extraordinary contrast to the poor conception of a being who ought not. and was informed that he was called Myself . Neither has Tasso been more happy. the dignity. I have heard it also told that the celebrated freebooter. perhaps. from the name of the armourer who forged it. hoofs. contrived to have a meeting with the goblin by watching in his mill till night. After all. some Churchman more learned than his brethren may have transferred the legend from Sicily to Duncrune. of a character different from the ourisk. Meming had the humour of refusing to work for any customer save such as compelled him to it with force of arms. and all the usual accompaniments of popular diablerie. though classic. though similar in shape. that the wicked are described as goats in Scripture. who injured the machinery by setting the water on the wheel when there was no grain to be grinded. Meming belonging to the Scandinavian mythology. and capable of being over-reached by those who understood philology. to have seemed so unworthy an antagonist. Rob Roy.Anthony. and that the devil is called the old dragon.

Having.” by Mr.popular opinions have wrought respecting the taste. it is necessary to make a pause before we enter upon the mystic and marvellous connexion supposed to exist between the impenitent kingdom of Satan and those merry dancers by moonlight.” * It may be worth while to notice that the word Haxa is still used in Scotland in its sense of a druidess. or chief priestess. the witches. With this place of sacrifice communicated a path. a Roman of mean estate. awakened storms. to those of the name of Fantome. minister of Aberfoyle. 3. 7. 2. leading to a small glen or narrow valley called the HaxelleIeuch—both which words are probably derived from the Haxa or chief priestess . in a shroud sable passant. a species of art disowned by the writers on the science. called the Haxell-gate. yet universally made use of by those who practise the art of blazonry. into his own possession. having proved the return of his farm to be the produce of his own hard and unremitting labour. He was brought before the judge upon a charge averring that he conjured the fruits of the earth. habits. than to the powerful-minded demon who fell through pride and rebellion. as well as superior skill.” * A similar bearing has been ascribed. by good fortune. says. Both bearings are founded on what is called canting heraldry.” vol. to whom much of it must be referred. which Mr. Milne. Here an universal and subsisting tradition bore that human sacrifices were of yore offered. 1. Robert Kirke. cap. 6. which seem to have been articles of faith both among the Celtic and Gothic tribes. powers. ix. * See “Essay on the Subterranean Commonwealth. by which the place is still known. Pliny informs us that one Caius Furius Cresinus. not through folly or incapacity. * See Pennant's “Scottish Tour. tit. we must next notice another fruitful fountain of demonological fancies. it left the agriculturists of the period at liberty to use the means they thought most proper to render their fields fertile and plentiful. in ” Northern Antiquities. There is a species of small intrenchment on the western descent of the Eildon hills. who carried of old a goblin. but. i. still discernible. * By this more ancient code. * Eyrbiggia Saga. * “Codex. 5. The traveller mentions that some festival of the same kind was in his time observed in Gloucestershire. a word of unknown derivation. was denominated Bourjo . drawn up about eighty years ago. p. * “Malæ nubent Maria. for the same reason. and. Cresinus appeared. modes of tempting. or phantom. was dismissed with the highest honours. on a field azure. III. to distinguish the places where such females exercised their ritual. 8. the punishment of death was indeed denounced against those who destroyed crops. raised larger crops from a small field than his neighbours could obtain from more ample possession. from the accounts of satyrs. and habits of tormenting. But as this source of the mythology of the Middle Ages must necessarily comprehend some account of the fairy folk. which are such as might rather be ascribed to some stupid superannuated and doting ogre of a fairy tale. or brought over to their barns and garners the fruits of the earth. in his account of the parish of Melrose.” lib. 18. adopted our present ideas of the devil as they are expressed by his nearest acquaintances. however. produced by his neighbours' farms. while the people assisting could be hold the ceremony from the elevation of the glacis which slopes inward.

WE may premise by observing. are bound to name with gratitude). both Infants and Adults — Adventures of a Butler in Ireland — The Elves supposed to pay a Tax to Hell — The Irish. resembling the modern elves in their habits. Diis campestribus. line 773 * See Saxo Grammaticus. unite their streams beneath the vestiges of an extensive castle. * Eyrbiggia Saga. yet their pleasures empty and illusory — Addicted to carry off Human Beings. with its terrace. and for the valiant. one which is consecrated. and a vicinity more delightfully appropriate to the abode of the silvan deities can hardly be found.. but the Irish ballad. which has been shed around and before it — a landscape ornamented with the distant village and huge abbey tower of Kelso. or Rural Deities. and Manxmen held the same belief — It was rather rendered more gloomy by the Northern Traditions — Merlin and Arthur carried off by the Fairies — Also Thomas of Erceldoune — His Amour with the Queen of Elfland — His re-appearance in latter times — Another account from Reginald Scot — Conjectures on the derivation of the word Fairy. by his knowledge of that noble collection. satyrs. noble. that the classics had not forgotten to enrol in their mythology a certain species of subordinate deities. Good old Mr. ye ken. before their time. of the Advocates' Library (whom all lawyers whose youth he assisted in their studies. cap 6. or any spirit who. might love scenery. amongst the ancient altars under his charge. MacPherson's paraphrases. and fauns with whom superstition peopled the lofty banks and tangled copses of this romantic country. Two rivers of considerable size. The Fairy Superstition is derived from different sources — The Classical Worship of the Silvans. Gibb. * “De causis contemptæ necis. “The fairies. and its extensive lawn — form altogether a kingdom for Oberon and Titania to reign in. and even the beauty. who probably derive some of their attributes from their classic predecessors. See “Northern Antiquities. Dan. which gives a spirited account of the debate between the champion and the armourer.” * The weapon is often mentioned in Mr. and usually added. “Hist. Highlanders. x. Welsh. and even royal blood. its woods. of which the majesty. proved by Roman Altars discovered — The Gothic Duergar. or Fins — “The Niebelungen-Lied” — King Laurin's Adventure — Celtic Fairies of a gayer character. v. or Dwarfs — Supposed to be derived from the Northern Laps. arising out of groves of aged trees — the modern mansion of Fleurs. “Æneid.” lib.of the pagans.” lib. renowned in the wars with England. made yet more remarkable by the fame which has rendered them in some sort classical. impress the mind with a sense of awe mingled with pleasure.” lib. i. used to point out.”* This relic of antiquity was discovered near Roxburgh Castle. although more . These silvans. LETTER IV. with a wink. is nowhere introduced. were obliged to give place to deities very nearly resembling themselves in character.

as received into the popular creed. or meteorological phenomena. industry. and were often seen in the mines. but that the spirits of the mine had directed him to the treasure. naturally enough.* These were. led very naturally to identify the Fin. diminutive race. ascribed by many persons to this source. has been generally ascribed to their race.” one of the . These oppressed yet dreaded fugitives obtained. and sometimes took pleasure in frustrating their objects and rendering their toil unfruitful. from their acquaintance with the changes of the clouds. and displayed that superiority of taste and fancy which. but possessed of some skill probably in mining or smelting minerals. At any rate. these dwarfs form the current machinery of the Northern Sagas. but it was a bolder stretch of the imagination which confounded this reserved and sullen race with the livelier and gayer spirit which bears correspondence with the British fairy. with the love of music and poetry. who. which were the invention of the Celtic people. and Finnish nations. there seems reason to conclude that these duergar were originally nothing else than the diminutive natives of the Lappish. a profusion of learning. with the Kobold. flying before the conquering weapons of the Asæ. who sought caverns and hiding-places from the persecution of the Asæ. Leyden. it has been plausibly supposed that these poor people. When a miner. We allude to the fairies. therefore. The employment and apparent occupation of these subterranean gnomes or fiends. Neither can we be surprised that the duergar. sought the most retired regions of the North. hit upon a rich vein of ore. the character of the German spirits called Kobold. Perhaps also they might.immediately allied to the barbarian conquerors. than his fellow-workmen. In the “Niebelungen-Lied. than the fairies (properly so called). through its various classes and modifications. it must be owned. however. should exhibit a darker and more malignant character than the elves that revel by moonlight in more southern climates. the inference commonly was. with which the country abounds. from which the English goblin and the Scottish bogle. In fact. The Kobolds were a species of gnomes. spirits of a coarser sort. where they seemed to imitate the labours of the miners. more laborious vocation. especially if neglected or insulted. but sometimes also they were indulgent to individuals whom they took under their protection. which. by some inversion and alteration of pronunciation. Lettish. who exhausted on this subject. or Laplander. be judges of weather. Dr. are certainly among the most pleasing legacies of fancy. as upon most others. Sometimes they were malignant. and more malignant temper. According to the old Norse belief. and there endeavoured to hide themselves from their Eastern invaders. are evidently derived. and as described by the poets who have made use of them as machinery. who haunted the dark and solitary places. They were a little. and their inferiority in size is represented as compensated by skill and wisdom superior to those of ordinary mortals. not that he possessed more skill. or even luck. and in all respects less propitious to humanity. found the first idea of the elfin people in the Northern opinions concerning the duergar. and so enjoy another title to supernatural skill. or dwarfs. were in some respects compensated for inferiority in strength and stature by the art and power with which the superstition of the enemy invested them.

was acknowledged. whose dwelling was in an enchanted garden of roses. like the Charlemagne of France or Arthur of England. valleys. We have already observed. these. the departments in which fancy most readily indulges herself. dedicates a long chapter to the spectres who disturbed his congregation. were deeply blended with the attributes which the Celtic tribes had. the Gael. the Welsh. or Dwarf Laurin. The employment.. than the sullen and heavy toils of the more saturnine Duergar. to the Gothic race that we must trace the opinions concerning the elves of the middle ages. and forests. The Irish. Their elves did not avoid the society of men. But it is not only. which rendered it dangerous to displease them. by that age. when overcome. sometimes called subterranean people.oldest romances of Germany. but as he attempted by treachery to attain the victory. and leads to an. what indeed makes a great feature of their national character. not long after the time of Attila. Their pageants and court entertainments comprehended all that the imagination could conceive of what was. figures among a cycle of champions over whom he presides. Their government was always represented as monarchical. and a course of existence far more gay. they appeared in deep caverns and among horrid rocks. March 12. it would seem. At . they were usually wantonly given and unexpectedly resumed. that they haunted the places where murders or other deeds of mortal sin had been acted. A King. Theodorick of Bern. in Thorshaven. and sometimes both held their court together. national poetry and song. the amusements of the Fairy court. and although their gifts were sometimes valuable. and who may. more frequently a Queen of Fairies. in most other respects. or Scottish Highlander. the benefits. being a corruption of duergar or dwarfs . be identified with the Caledonian fairies. all tribes of Celtic descent. more social habits. from the remotest ages. assigned to the Men of Peace. accounted gallant and splendid. who dates his description of Ferro from his Pathos. or Trows. Good Neighbours. he is. though they behaved to those who associated with them with caprice. a sort of persons seldom supposed to be themselves conjurers. resembled the aerial people themselves. as already hinted. another pronunciation of Trollds. condemned to fill the dishonourable yet appropriate office of buffoon and juggler at the Court of Verona. or even chiefly. * Such possession of supernatural wisdom is still imputed by the natives of the Orkney and Zetland Islands to the people called Drows . They appear to have been the genuine northern dwarfs. Among others vanquished by him is the Elf King. enthusiasm concerning national music and dancing. The actors in these disturbances he states to be the Skow . and are considered by the reverend author as something very little better than actual fiends. ascribed to their deities of rocks. or of Verona.e. and who had a body-guard of giants. that the power of the imagination is peculiarly active among the Celts. the spirits of the woods and mountains. 1670. Lucas Jacobson Debes. or Biergen-Trold — i. as also. or by whatever other names they called these sylvan pigmies. and adds. and compiled. He becomes a formidable opponent to Theodorick and his chivalry. and sometimes carried off his hearers.

as the legal phrase went. notwithstanding it was their natural sphere. little right. they had propensities unfavourable and distressing to mortals. in his “Eighteenth Relation. had nevertheless.” that of carrying off their children. to mark the direct line of his course. the board was set forth with a splendour which the proudest kings of the earth dared not aspire to. Others. on such occasions. But when viewed by the eye of a seer the illusion vanished. exposed themselves also to become inmates of Fairyland. With respect to the first. within which the Fairy court happened to be held for the time. The young knights and beautiful ladies showed themselves as wrinkled carles and odious hags-their wealth turned into slate-stones — their splendid plate into pieces of clay fantastically twisted — and their victuals. it may be easily conceived that the want of the sacred ceremony of introduction into the Christian church rendered them the more obnoxious to the power of those creatures. and invited him to join in their revel. a neighbour of the Earl of Orrery. and so. he saw a table surrounded by people apparently feasting and making merry. who was sent to purchase cards. and the hall of their dancers echoed to the most exquisite music. In a word. when engaged in some unlawful action. and were accounted by most divines as belonging to a very different class. and leaving. who. because an emblem of eternity). with transporting him through the air to a city at some forty miles' distance. “Do nothing . his hat or bonnet on some steeple between. though their toil was fruitless and their pleasures shadowy and unsubstantial. Glanville.” tells us of the butler of a gentleman. but fruitless and unavailing — and their condemnation appears to have consisted in the necessity of maintaining the appearance of constant industry or enjoyment. considering their constant round of idle occupation. An adult. It was well for the individual if the irate elves were contented. or in the act of giving way to some headlong and sinful passion. and breeding them as beings of their race. Hence poets have designed them as “the crew that never rest.their processions they paraded more beautiful steeds than those of mere earthly parentage — the hawks and hounds which they employed in their chase were of the first race. but a friendly voice from the party whispered in his ear. One injury of a very serious nature was supposed to be constantly practised by the fairies against “the human mortals. must have been engaged in some action which exposed him to the power of the spirits.” Sleeping on a fairy mount. their pleasures were showy. we are told.” Besides the unceasing and useless bustle in which these spirits seemed to live. Unchristened infants were chiefly exposed to this calamity. unsavoured by salt (prohibited to them. on the other hand. “taken in the manner. perhaps. if not to be in all respects considered as fiends. was a very ready mode of obtaining a pass for Elfland. The same belief on these points obtained in Ireland. They rose to salute him. In crossing the fields. but totally unsubstantial — their activity unceasing. but adults were also liable to be abstracted from earthly commerce. became tasteless and insipid — the stately halls were turned into miserable damp caverns — all the delights of the Elfin Elysium vanished at once. At their daily banquets. to rank themselves among good spirits.

after a certain length of life. From this it must be inferred. and particularly by Mr. moreover. he reminded him that he had not prayed to God in the morning before be met with this company in the field. these spirits are subject to the universal lot of mortality . who could only run beneath. were doomed to conclude their lives with them. and betook themselves to work. during the reign of that unfortunate queen. * Individuals. with the company you saw. and at length discovered himself to be the ghost of an acquaintance who had been dead for seven years. were most apt to be seized upon and carried off to Elfland before their death. They raised him in the air above the heads of the mortals. which they were willing to defray by delivering up to the prince of these regions the children of the human race.” Accordingly. the sorceress who cured Archbishop Adamson. the table vanished. when he refused to join in feasting. We must not omit to state that those who had an intimate communication with these spirits. the minister of Aberfoyle. and.which this company invite you to. who considered him as their lawful prey. and ever since have I been hurried up and down in a restless condition. so peculiar to the elfin people. that they have off-spring among themselves. were sometimes surreptitiously carried off to Fairyland. to break his fall when they pleased to let him go. is said to be that they were under a necessity of paying to the infernal regions a yearly tribute out of their population. “that if the butler had acknowledged God in all his ways. Greatrix. He indeed adds that. while they were yet inhabitants of middle earth. as Alison Pearson. whose lives had been engaged in intrigues of politics or stratagems of war. They then left off dancing. be had not suffered so much by their means. “You know. but neither in this would the mortal join them. The spectre which formerly advised the poor man continued to haunt him. even to having seen the butler raised into the air by the invisible beings who strove to carry him off. that he was then going on an unlawful business. the other one of the most unwearied partisans of Queen Mary. and the company began to dance and play on musical instruments. He was then left alone for the present.” He added. Kirke. The reason assigned for this kidnapping of the human race. it was all they could do to prevent the butler from being carried off bodily from amongst them by the fairies. Only he did not bear witness to the passage which seems to call the purchase of cards an unlawful errand. It is pretended that Lord Orrery confirmed the whole of this story. “I lived a loose life. in spite of two bishops who were his guests at the time. but the butler would not take part in these recreations. Upon the whole. and unless redeemed from their power.” added he. which it was not always safe to attempt. the one of whom had been the most busy politician. rather than their own. as it is said by some authorities. and shall be till the day of judgment. averred that she had recognised in the Fairy court the celebrated Secretary Lethington and the old Knight of Buccleuch. persons carried off by sudden death were usually suspected of having fallen into the hands of the fairies. but in spite of the exertions of my Lord Ornery. in spite of the celebrated Mr.

It was from the same source also. is mentioned by both. and to have vanished without having suffered death. from the ingenious researches of Mr. were both said by tradition to have been abstracted by the fairies. doubtless) and Herodias. Crofton Croker — which. upon the ghostly eve of AllHallow Mass. but it is singular to remark what light the traditions of Scotland throw upon the poetry of the Britons of Cumberland. just at the time when it was supposed that the magic of the wizard and the celebrated sword of the monarch. We must not omit the creed of the Manxmen.* In Italy we hear of the hags arraying themselves under the orders of Diana (in her triple character of Hecate. agree in the same general attributes with those of Ireland and Britain. indifferently. namely). It may be conjectured that there was a desire on the part of Arthur or his surviving . according to John Lewis. Waldron. This bag (in all respects the reverse of the Mab or Titania of the Celtic creed) was called Nicneven in that later system which blended the faith of the Celts and of the Goths on this subject. which. which has been controverted. with King Arthur. became. the Hecate of this mythology. was a peculiar depository of the fairy traditions. barrister-at-law. Of these early times we can know little. The opinions on the subject of the fairy people here expressed. though in most cases told with the wit of the editor and the humour of his country. But we return to the more simple fairy belief. or the wild. who were the joint leaders of their choir. the dubious champion of Britain at that early period. contain points of curious antiquarian information — that the opinions of the Irish are conformable to the account we have given of the general creed of the Celtic nations respecting elves.— a position. who rode on the storm and marshalled the rambling host of wanderers under her grim banner. as entertained by the Celts before they were conquered by the Saxons. If the Irish elves are anywise distinguished from those of Britain. The great Scottish poet Dunbar has made a spirited description of this Hecate riding at the head of witches and good neighbours (fairies. the son of an elf or fairy. perhaps. We know. that additional legends were obtained of a gigantic and malignant female. from the lively and entertaining legends published by Mr. then called Reged. the popular system of the Celts easily received the northern admixture of Drows and Duergar. in all probability. in all probability. on the island being conquered by the Norse. that the Isle of Man. a darker colouring than originally belonged to the British fairyland. and is scarcely reconcilable to that which holds them amenable to pay a tax to hell. it seems to be by their disposition to divide into factions and fight among themselves — a pugnacity characteristic of the Green Isle. sorceresses and elves. chequered with those of Scandinavia from a source peculiar and more direct than that by which they reached Scotland or Ireland. however. Such as it was. since we find. Merlin Wyllt. beyond other places in Britain. and that renowned wizard. The Welsh fairies. which infers existence as eternal as the fire which is not quenched. are such as are entertained in the Highlands and some remote quarters of the Lowlands of Scotland. could no longer avert the impending ruin. which gave the belief. which had done so much to preserve British independence.

champions to conceal his having received a mortal wound in the fatal battle of Camlan; and to that we owe the wild and beautiful incident so finely versified by Bishop Percy, in which, in token of his renouncing in future the use of arms, the monarch sends his attendant, sole survivor of the field, to throw his sword Excalibar into the lake hard by. Twice eluding the request, the esquire at last complied, and threw the far-famed weapon into the lonely mere. A hand and arm arose from the water and caught Excalibar by the hilt, flourished it thrice, and then sank into the lake. * The astonished messenger returned to his master to tell him the marvels he had seen, but he only saw a boat at a distance push from the land, and heard shrieks of females in agony: — “And whether the king was there or not He never knew, he never colde For never since that doleful day Was British Arthur seen on molde.” The circumstances attending the disappearance of Merlin would probably be found as imaginative as those of Arthur's removal, but they cannot be recovered; and what is singular enough, circumstances which originally belonged to the history of this famous bard, said to be the son of the Demon himself, have been transferred to a later poet, and surely one of scarce inferior name, Thomas of Erceldoune. The legend was supposed to be only preserved among the inhabitants of his native valleys, but a copy as old as the reign of Henry VII, has been recovered. The story is interesting and beautifully told, and, as one of the oldest fairy legends, may well be quoted in this place. Thomas of Erceldoune, in Lauderdale, called the Rhymer, on account of his producing a poetical romance on the subject of Tristrem and Yseult, which is curious as the earliest specimen of English verse known to exist, flourished in the reign of Alexander III. of Scotland. Like other men of talent of the period, Thomas was suspected of magic. He was said also to have the gift of prophecy, which was accounted for in the following peculiar manner, referring entirely to the elfin superstition: — As True Thomas (we give him the epithet by anticipation) lay on Huntly Bank, a place on the descent of the Eildon Hills, which raise their triple crest above the celebrated Monastery of Melrose, he saw a lady so extremely beautiful that he imagined it must be the Virgin Mary herself. Her appointments, however, were rather those of an Amazon or goddess of the woods. Her steed was of the highest beauty and spirit, and at his mane hung thirty silver bells and nine, which made music to the wind as she paced along. Her saddle was of royal bone (ivory), laid over with orfeverie — i.e., goldsmith's work. Her stirrups, her dress, all corresponded with her extreme beauty and the magnificence of her array. The fair huntress had her bow in her hand, and her arrows at her belt. She led three greyhounds in a leash, and three raches, or hounds of scent, followed her closely. She rejected and disclaimed the homage which Thomas desired to pay to her; so that, passing from one extremity to the other, Thomas became as bold as he had at first been humble. The lady warns him that he must become her slave if he should prosecute his suit towards her in the manner he proposes. Before their interview terminates, the appearance of the beautiful lady is changed into that of the

most hideous hag in existence. One side is blighted and wasted, as if by palsy; one eye drops from her head; her colour, as clear as the virgin silver, is now of a dun leaden hue. A witch from the spital or almshouse would have been a goddess in comparison to the late beautiful huntress. Hideous as she was, Thomas's irregular desires had placed him under the control of this hag, and when she bade him take leave of sun, and of the leaf that grew on tree, he felt himself under the necessity of obeying her. A cavern received them, in which, following his frightful guide, he for three days travelled in darkness, sometimes hearing the booming of a distant ocean, sometimes walking through rivers of blood, which crossed their subterranean path. At length they emerged into daylight, in a most beautiful orchard. Thomas, almost fainting for want of food, stretches out his hand towards the goodly fruit which hangs around him, but is forbidden by his conductress, who informs him these are the fatal apples which were the cause of the fall of man. He perceives also that his guide had no sooner entered this mysterious ground, and breathed its magic air, than she was revived in beauty, equipage, and splendour, as fair, or fairer, than he had first seen her on the mountain. She then commands him to lay his head upon her knee, and proceeds to explain to him the character of the country. “Yonder righthand path,” she says, “conveys the spirits of the blessed to Paradise; yon downward and well-worn way leads sinful souls to the place of everlasting punishment; the third road, by yonder dark brake, conducts to the milder place of pain from which prayer and mass may release offenders. But see you yet a fourth road, sweeping along the plain to yonder splendid castle ? Yonder is the road to Elfland, to which we are now bound. The lord of the castle is king of the country, and I am his queen. But, Thomas, I would rather be drawn with wild horses, than he should know what hath passed between you and me. Therefore, when we enter yonder castle, observe strict silence, and answer no question that is asked at you, and I will account for your silence by saying I took your speech when I brought you from middle earth.” Having thus instructed her lover, they journeyed on to the castle, and entering by the kitchen, found themselves in the midst of such a festive scene as might become the mansion of a great feudal lord or prince. Thirty carcases of deer were lying on the massive kitchen board, under the hands of numerous cooks, who tolled to cut them up and dress them, while the gigantic greyhounds which had taken the spoil lay lapping the blood, and enjoying the sight of the slain game. They came next to the royal hall, where the king received his loving consort without censure or suspicion. Knights and ladies, dancing by threes (reels perhaps), occupied the floor of the hall, and Thomas, the fatigues of his journey from the Eildon hills forgotten, went forward and joined in the revelry. After a period, however, which seemed to him a very short one, the queen spoke with him apart, and bade him prepare to return to his own country. “Now,” said the queen, “how long think you that you have been here ? “Certes, fair lady,” answered Thomas, “not above these seven days.” “You are deceived,” answered the queen, “you have been seven years in this castle; and it is full time you were gone. Know, Thomas, that the fiend of hell will come to this castle to-morrow to demand his tribute, and so

handsome a man as you will attract his eye. For all the world would I not suffer you to be betrayed to such a fate; therefore up, and let us be going.” These terrible news reconciled Thomas to his departure from Elfin land, and the queen was not long in placing him upon Huntly bank, where the birds were singing. She took a tender leave of him, and to ensure his reputation, bestowed on him the tongue which could not lie . Thomas in vain objected to this inconvenient and involuntary adhesion to veracity, which would make him, as lie thought, unfit for church or for market, for kings court or for lady's bower. But all his remonstrances were disregarded by the lady, and Thomas the Rhymer, whenever the discourse turned on the future, gained the credit of a prophet whether he would or not; for be could say nothing but what was sure to come to pass. It is plain that had Thomas been a legislator instead or a poet, we have here the story of Numa and Egeria. Thomas remained several years in his own tower near Erceldoune, and enjoyed the fame of his predictions, several of which are current among the country people to this day. At length, as the prophet was entertaining the Earl of March in his dwelling, a cry of astonishment arose in the village, on the appearance of a hart and hind,* which left the forest and, contrary to their shy nature, came quietly onward, traversing the village towards the dwelling of Thomas. The prophet instantly rose from the board; and, acknowledging the prodigy as the summons of his fate, he accompanied the hart and hind into the forest, and though occasionally seen by individuals to whom he has chosen to show himself, has never again mixed familiarly with mankind. Thomas of Erceldoune, during his retirement, has been supposed, from time to time, to be levying forces to take the field in some crisis of his country's fate. The story has often been told of a daring horse-jockey having sold a black horse to a man of venerable and antique appearance, who appointed the remarkable hillock upon Eildon hills, called the Lucken-hare, as the place where, at twelve o'clock at night, he should receive the price. He came, his money was paid in ancient coin, and he was invited by his customer to view his residence. The trader in horses followed his guide in the deepest astonishment through several long ranges of stalls, in each of which a horse stood motionless, while an armed warrior lay equally still at the charger's feet. “All these men,” said the wizard in a whisper, “will awaken at the battle of Sheriffmoor.” At the extremity of this extraordinary depôt hung a sword and a born, which the prophet pointed out to the horse-dealer as containing the means of dissolving the spell. The man in confusion took the horn, and attempted to wind it. The horses instantly started in their stalls, stamped, and shook their bridles, the men arose and clashed their armour, and the mortal, terrified at the tumult he had excited, dropped the horn from his hand. A voice like that of a giant, louder even than the tumult around, pronounced these words: — “Woe to the coward that ever he was born, That did not draw the sword before he blew the horn !” A whirlwind expelled the horse-dealer from the cavern, the entrance to which he could

after death. I told him of my horse. of which place I had never heard. But the money I had received was just double of what I esteemed it when the woman paid me. whom he began to cheapen.” says he. in the very place where I first met him. At last I found myself in the open field by the help of the moonlight. at his appearance. “I could name a person who hath lately appeared thrice since his decease. withal. and proceeded with me so far that the price was agreed upon. So he turned back with me. perceiving we were on a road which I never had been on before. “to sell a horse at the next market own. of a quality more permanent than usual had not favoured us with an account of an impress s valuable to medalists. He told me that his dwelling was a mile off. though I knew all the country round about. asking what news. that although this edition of the tale is limited to the year 1715. that it is best to be armed against danger before bidding it defiance. and how affairs moved through the country. “But more particularly to illustrate this conjecture. At which I began to be somewhat fearful. on we went till he brought me under ground. I knew not how. into the presence of a beautiful woman. war and bloodshed.never again find. But it is a circumstance worth notice. by the very mention of the Sheriffmoor. which was one of the virtues professed by Caius when he hired himself to King Lear. but not attaining my price. where I saw above six hundred men in armour laid prostrate on the ground as if asleep. It is not the less edifying. It is a great pity that this horse-dealer. Well. consisting of ninepennies.” said he. incredulous on the subject of witchcraft. who began to be familiar with me. Reginald Scot. On our way we went. and he on another milk-white east. at least some ghostly being or other that calls itself by the name of such a person who was dead above a hundred years ago. A moral might be perhaps extracted from the legend — namely. towns. and was in his lifetime accounted as a prophet or predicter by the assistance of sublunary spirits.” &c. as we are deprived of the more picturesque parts . thirteen pence-halfpennies. and made a shift to get home by three in the morning. * He also told me that he himself was that person of the family of Learmonths so much spoken of as a prophet. who paid the money without a word speaking. After much travel I asked him where he dwelt and what his name was. yet a similar story appears to have been current during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. as I returned home by the I met this man. of which at this instant I have several pieces to show. which increased my fear and amazement more. did also give strange predictions respecting famine and plenty. seems to have given some weight to the belief of those who thought that the spirits of famous men do. He conducted me out again through a large and long entry. I answered as I thought fit. and now. having specimens of the fairy coin. By the information of the person that had communication with him. and countries. take up some particular habitations near cities. The narrative is edifying as peculiarly illustrative of the mode of marring a curious tale in telling it. and act as tutelary and guardian spirits to the places which they loved while in the flesh. which is given by Reginald Scot. and told me that if I would go along with him I should receive my money. I upon my horse. and the end of the world. the last of his appearances was in the following manner: — “I had been. at a place called Farran .

if we consider him as writing in the Anglo-Norman language. of a species very similar. from its being the first and most distinguished instance of a man alleged to have obtained supernatural knowledge by means of the fairies. was certainly one among the earliest of its versifiers.” Edinburgh. The altar is preserved of Drygrange. as the oldest tradition of the kind which has reached us in detail. * See an abstract. forming another instance how much the wild and silvan character of the country disposed the feelings of the Romans to acknowledge the presence of the rural deities. a quality which they affected on all occasions. they called the fays “men of peace. though these terms. whose affection. and who.” “good neighbours. of “A Lay on this subject of King Laurin. Whence or how this singular community derived their more common popular name. Tod. within these few weeks. But this is a question which we willingly leave for the decision of better etymologists than ourselves.” . but with the far different Fata of the Italians. But the legend is still more curious. to the god Sylvanus. in other instances. therefore. while the superstition of the Scottish was likely enough to give them a name which might propitiate the vanity for which they deemed the race remarkable. Some are. whose existence. “Northern Antiquities. just as. at the same time.” and by other titles of the like import. It was inscribed by Carrius Domitianus. * See the essay on the Fairy Superstition. I have dwelt at some length on the story of Thomas the Rhymer.of the story. will afford the best derivation. though. by the late learned Henry Weber. the prefect of the twentieth legion. on the other side of the Channel. to learn that Thomas's payment was as faithful as his prophecies. * “Sadducismus Triumphatus. 1814. It is the opinion of the learned that the Persian word Peri. that the words fay and fairy may have been mere adoptions of the French fee and feerie. and its date. in the neighbourhood of the village of Newstead. We hesitate to ascribe either to the Persians or the Arabians the distinguishing name of an ideal commonwealth. tempted to suppose that the elves may have obtained their most frequent name from their being par excellence a fair or comely people. Leyden. The beautiful lady who bore the purse must have been undoubtedly the Fairy Queen. if we suppose it to have reached Europe through the medium of the Arabians. in whose alphabet the letter P does not exist. and as pretending to show the fate of the first Scottish poet. we cannot term it altogether laudable. the notion of which they certainly did not contribute to US. dug up near the junction of the Leader and the Tweed. and the whole brought into its present form by the author.” of which many of the materials were contributed by Dr. expressing an unearthly being. * Another altar of elegant form and perfectly preserved. so that they pronounce the word Feri instead of Peri. like that of his own heroine Yseult. Still there is something uncertain in this etymology. to the east of Melrose. not to our fairies. have reference to a class of spirits corresponding. we may say has not as yet been very clearly established. are established both by history and records. seems yet to have borne a faithful and firm character.” complied by Henry of Osterdingen. was. in the “Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. It must be owned. the seat of Mr.

Edinburgh. claimed descent from the prophet. with an account of whose legend I concluded last letter. to tell fortunes. of his Intercourse with the Fairies — Trial and Confession of Isobel Gowdie — Use of Elf-arrow Heads — Parish of Aberfoyle — Mr. i. * In this the author is in the same ignorance as his namesake Reginald. nor the souls of deceased men. * See “Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedy. for the purpose of satisfying their own wishes. 3. See Ellis's “Ancient Romances. be considered as any criminal alliance.” * See “Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.” Vol. in Fife. devils. to revenge injuries. a Juggler. Grahame's interesting Work. and other supernatural powers. 131. her Stepson — Extraordinary species of Charm used by the latter-Confession of John Stewart. by means of the fairy people. A confession of direct communication and league with Satan.by Joseph Glanville. “Discourse of Devils and Spirits appended to the Discovery of Witchcraft. and his Information on Fairy Superstitions — Story of a Female in East Lothian carried off by the Fairies — Another instance from Pennant. though the accused were too frequently compelled by torture to admit and avow such horrors. or from mortals transported to fairyland the power necessary to effect the displays of art which they pretended to exhibit. though having at least as many opportunities of information. or to engage in traffic with the invisible world. TO return to Thomas the Rhymer. being naturally desirous to screen their own impostures. Those who dealt in fortune-telling. nor would it.” by Reginald Scot. or revenge. 19. they might flatter themselves. nor is described by his son other than Le Rymour. p. and the like. The Learmonths of Dairsie. that they held communion with a . it would seem that the example which it afforded of obtaining the gift of prescience. chap. William Sympson-Trial of the Lady Fowlis. p.. being neither angels. the poor wretches hoped. the name of Thomas the Rhymer was always averred to be Learmonth. might. Thome Reid-Trial of Alison Pearson — Account of her Familiar. book ii. curiosity. Kirke. be avoided by the avowal of a less disgusting intercourse with sublunary spirits. Those who practised the petty arts of deception in such mystic cases. LETTER V. or those of others. a race which might be described by negatives. and of Hector Munro. 1790.” * This last circumstance seems imitated from a passage in the “Life of Merlin” by Jeffrey of Monmouth. though he neither uses it himself. mystical cures by charms. 73. often claimed an intercourse with Fairyland Hudhart or Hudikin — Pitcairn's “Scottish Criminal Trials” — Story of Bessie Dunlop and her Adviser — Her Practice of Medicine — And of Discovery of Theft — Account of her Familiar. were willing to be supposed to derive from the fairies. the Minister of Aberfoyle's Work on Fairy Superstitions — He is himself taken to Fairyland — Dr. Esq. In popular tradition. sec. became the common apology of those who attempted to cure diseases.

the credulous. in short. who. or pill. The most special account which I have found of the intercourse between Fairyland and a female professing to have some influence in that court. of the existence of white magic. and confine her there by the power of an especial charm. which might either be the with Hudkin. was the manner in which the persons accused of witchcraft most frequently endeavoured to excuse themselves. greatness. and interfered in the fate o nations. were anxious obtain superhuman assistance. who pretended to act on this information from sublunary spirits. soared to higher matters than the practice of physic. or some other local place of abode. or at least innocent objects. was murdered at Perth in 1411. wrought such miracles as we see sometimes advertised. or moved by any of the numberless uses for which men seek to look into futurity. Sometimes the soothsayers. occurs in the early part of a work to which I have been exceedingly obliged in the present and other publications. a Highland woman prophesied the course and purpose of the conspiracy. Accordingly. delivering herself personally to the devil. a Dutch spirit somewhat similar to Friar Rush or Robin Goodfellow. for laudable. The details of the evidence. When James I.race not properly hostile to man. such as remarkable cures by mysterious remedies. and willing. but the species of evasion now under our investigation is that of the fanatics or impostors who pretended to draw information from the equivocal spirits called fairies. Such an intercourse was certainly far short of the witch's renouncing her salvation. combined with a strong desire to be useful to the distressed of both sexes. and had she been listened to. elixir. Of these we shall afterwards say something. and not with the actual demon. knowledge. conjuring her to abide and answer the questions of her master. Being asked her source of knowledge. and other wizards. became both cheated and cheaters. might perhaps have forfeited his life before he established the reputation of his drop. as healing diseases and the like. she answered Hudhart had told her. But the Scottish law did not acquit those who accomplished even praiseworthy actions. * or with the red-capped demon so powerful in the case of Lord Soulis. together with the like doom in the next. it might have bee disconcerted. in opposition to that black art exclusively and directly derived from intercourse with Satan. a looking-glass. or at least to alleviate the charges brought against them of practising sorcery. to be useful and friendly to him. alike anxious to establish the possibility of a harmless process of research into futurity. others pretended to possess spells. to whom the Scots assigned rather more serious influence. and the number of instances before us is so great as induces us to believe that the pretence of communicating with Elfland. and the proprietor of a patent medicine who should in those days have attested his having. as it was called. by which they could reduce and compel an elementary spirit to enter within a stone. as well as the numbers who had it in view to dupe such willing clients. Some endeavoured to predict a man's fortune in marriage or his success in life by the aspect of the stars. on certain conditions. in search of health. which consists chiefly of the unfortunate woman's own . and at once ensuring condemnation in this world.

confession, are more full than usual, and comprehend some curious particulars. To spare technical repetitions, I must endeavour to select the principal facts in evidence in detail, so far as they bear upon the present subject. On the 8th November, 1576, Elizabeth or Bessie Dunlop, spouse to Andro Jak, in Lyne, in the Barony of Dalry, Ayrshire, was accused of sorcery and witchcraft and abuse of the people. Her answers to the interrogatories of the judges prosecutors ran thus: It being required of her by what art she could tell of lost goods or prophesy the event of illness, she replied that of herself she had no knowledge or science of such matters, but that when questions were asked at her concerning such matters, she was in the habit of applying to one Thome Reid, who died at the battle of Pinkie (10th September, 1547), as he himself affirmed, and who resolved her any questions which she asked at him. This person she described as a respectable elderly-looking man, grey-bearded, and wearing a grey coat, with Lombard sleeves of the auld fashion. A pair of grey breeches and white stockings gartered above the knee, a black bonnet on his head, close behind and plain before, with silken laces drawn through the lips thereof, and a white wand in his hand, completed the description of what we may suppose a respectable-looking man of the province and period. Being demanded concerning her first interview with this mysterious Thome Reid, she gave rather an affecting account of the disasters with which she was then afflicted, and a sense of which perhaps aided to conjure up the imaginary counsellor. She was walking between her own house and the yard of Monkcastle, driving her cows to the common pasture, and making heavy moan with herself, weeping bitterly for her cow that was dead, her husband and child that were sick of the land-ill (some contagious sickness of the time), while she herself was in a very infirm state, having lately borne a child. On this occasion she met Thome Reid for the first time, who saluted her courteously, which she returned: “Sancta Maria, Bessie !” said the apparition, “why must thou make such dole and weeping for any earthly thing?” “Have I not reason for great sorrow,” said she, “since our property is going to destruction, my husband is on the point of death, my baby will not live, and I am myself at a weak point ? Have I not cause to have a sore heart?” “Bessie,” answered the spirit, “thou hast displeased God in asking something that thou should not, and I counsel you to amend your fault. I tell thee, thy child shall die ere thou get home; thy two sheep shall also die; but thy husband shall recover and be as well and feir as ever he was.” The good woman was something comforted to hear that her husband was be spared in such her general calamity, but was rather alarmed to see her ghostly counsellor pass from her a disappear through a hole in the garden wall, seemingly too narrow to admit of any living person passing through it. Another time he met her at the Thorn of Dawmstarnik, and showed his ultimate purpose by offering her plenty of every thing if she would but deny Christendom and the faith she took at the font-stone. She answered, that rather than do that she would be torn at horses' heels, but that she would be conformable to his advice in less matters. He parted with her in some displeasure. Shortly afterwards he appeared in her own house about

noon, which was at the time occupied by her husband and three tailors. But neither Andrew Jak nor the three tailors were sensible of the presence of the phantom warrior who was slain at Pinkie; so that, without attracting their observation, he led out goodwife to the end of the house near the kiln. Here showed her a company of eight women and four men. The women were busked in their plaids, and very seemly. The strangers saluted her, and said, “Welcome, Bessie; wilt thou go with us ?” But Bessie was silent, as Thome Reid had previously recommended. After this she saw their lips move, but did not understand what they said; and in a short time they removed from thence with a hideous ugly howling sound, like that of a hurricane. Thome Reid then acquainted her that these were the good wights (fairies) dwelling in the court of Elfland, who came to invite her to go thither with them. Bessie answered that, before she went that road, it would require some consideration. Thome answered, “Seest thou not me both meat-worth, clothes-worth, and well enough in person?” and engaged she should be easier than ever she was. But she replied, she dwelt with her husband and children, and would not leave them; to which Thome Reid “replied, in very ill-humour, that if such were her sentiments, she would get little good of him. Although they thus disagreed on the principal object of Thome Reid's visits, Bessie Dunlop affirmed he continued to come to her frequently, and assist her with his counsel; and that if any one consulted her about the ailments of human beings or of cattle, or the recovery of things lost and stolen, she was, by the advice of Thome Reid, always able 16 answer the querists. She was also taught by her (literally ghostly) adviser how to watch the operation of the ointments he gave her, and to presage from them the recovery or death of the patient. She said Thome gave her herbs with his own hand, with which she cured John jack's bairn and Wilson's of the Townhead. She also was helpful to a waitingwoman of the young Lady Stanley, daughter of the Lady Johnstone, whose disease, according to the opinion of the infallible Thome Reid, was “a cauld blood that came about her heart,” and frequently caused her to swoon away. For this Thome mixed a remedy as generous as the balm of Gilead itself. It was composed of the most potent ale, cocted with spices and a little white sugar, to be drunk every morning before taking food. For these prescriptions Bessie 'Dunlop's fee was a peck of meal and some cheese. The young woman recovered. But the poor old Lady Kilbowie could get no help for her leg, which had been crooked for years; for Thome Reid said the marrow of the limb was perished and the blood benumbed, so that she would never recover, and if she sought further assistance, it would be the worse for her. These opinions indicate common sense and prudence at least, whether we consider them as originating with the umquhile Thome Reid, or with the culprit whom he patronized. The judgments given in the case of stolen goods were also well chosen; for though they seldom led to recovering the property, they generally alleged such satisfactory reasons for its not being found as effectually to cover the credit of the prophetess. Thus Hugh Scott' cloak could not be returned, because the thieves had gained time to make it into a kirtle. James Jarmieson. and James Baird would, by her advice, have recovered their plough-irons, which had

been stolen, had it not been the will of fate that William Dougal, sheriff's officer, one of the parties searching for them, should accept a bribe of three pounds not to find them. In short, although she lost a lace which Thome Reid gave her out of his own band, which, tied round women in childbirth, had the power of helping their delivery, Bessy Dunlop's profession of a wise woman seems to have flourished indifferently well till it drew the evil eye of the law upon her. More minutely pressed upon the subject of her familiar, she said she had never known him while among the living, but was aware that the person so calling himself was one who had, in his lifetime, actually been known in middle earth as Thome Reid, officer to the Laird of Blair, and who died at Pinkie. Of this she was made certain, because he sent her on errands to his son, who had succeeded in his office, and to others his relatives, whom be named, and commanded them to amend certain trespasses which he had done while alive, furnishing her with sure tokens by which they should know that it was he who had sent her. One of these errands was somewhat remarkable. She was to remind a neighbour of some particular which she was to recall to his memory by the token that Thome Reid and he had set out together to go to the battle which took place on the Black Saturday; that the person to whom the message was sent was inclined rather to move in a different direction, but that Thome Reid heartened him to pursue his journey, and brought him to the Kirk of Dalry, where he bought a parcel of figs, and made a present of them to his companion, tying them in his handkerchief; after which they kept company till they came to the field upon the fatal Black Saturday, as the battle of Pinkie was long called. Of Thome's other habits, she said that he always behaved with the strictest propriety, only that he pressed her to go to Elfland with him, and took hold of her apron as if to pull her along. Again, she said she had seen him in public places, both in the churchyard at Dalry and on the street of Edinburgh, where be walked about among other people, and handled goods that were exposed to sale, without attracting any notice. She herself did not then speak to him, for it was his command that, upon such occasions, she should never address him unless he spoke first to her. In his theological opinions, Mr. Reid appeared to lean to the Church of Rome, which, indeed, was most indulgent to the fairy folk. He said that the new law, i.e., the Reformation, was not good, and that the old faith should return again, but not exactly as it had been before. Being questioned why this visionary sage attached himself to her more than to others, the accused person replied, that when she was confined in childbirth of one of her boys, a stout woman came into her but, and sat down on a bench by her bed, like a mere earthly gossip; that she demanded a drink, and was accommodated accordingly; and thereafter told the invalid that the child should die, but that her husband, who was then ailing, should recover. This visit seems to have been previous to her meeting Thome Reid near Monkcastle garden, for that worthy explained to her that her stout visitant was Queen of Fairies, and that he had since attended her by the express command of that lady, his queen and mistress. This reminds us of the extreme doting attachment which the Queen of the Fairies is

and when she refused. who she affirmed was a great scholar and doctor of medicine. She declared that she had renewed her acquaintance with her kinsman so soon as he returned. although his affection to her was apparently entirely platonic — the greatest familiarity on which he ventured was taking hold of her gown as he pressed her to go with him to Elfland. The intervention of Thome Reid as a partner in her trade of petty sorcery did not avail poor Bessie Dunlop. by a man of Egypt (a Gipsy). she said. The sad words on the margin of the record. and that a green man came to her. and said if she would be faithful he might do her good. a heavy burden for a clumsy bench. But he afterwards appeared to her with many men and women with him. if he came for her soul's good to tell his errand. as in the case of Bessie Dunlop. dealing with charms and abusing the ignorant people. the following description of the fairy host may come more near the idea he has formed of that invisible company: — Bessie Dunlop declared that as she went to tether her nag by the side of Restalrig Loch (Lochend. specially in the vision of one Mr. her cousin and her mother's brother's son.” sufficiently express the tragic conclusion of a curious tale. William Sympson. that he remained there twelve years. she heard a tremendous sound of a body of riders rushing past her with such a noise as if heaven and earth would come together. and that his father died in the meantime for opening a priest's book and looking upon it. He often requested her to go with him on his return to Fairyland. born in Stirling. it would seem. drinking what at Christopher Sly would have called very sufficient smallbeer with a peasant's wife. “Convict and burnt. mirth. summoned thrice. As Bessie Dunlop had Thome Reid. he shook his head. was the principal evidence. in the name of God and by the law he lived upon. This was her relative. If the delicacy of the reader's imagination be a little hurt at imagining the elegant Titania in the disguise of a stout woman. with piping. but Thome Reid showed her that the noise was occasioned by the wights. who carried him to Egypt along with him. was. that the sound swept past her and seemed to rush into the lake with a hideous rumbling noise. Neither did it avail her that the petty sorcery which she practised was directed to venial or even beneficial purposes. William Sympson aforesaid. 28th May. 1588.represented to have taken for Dapper in “The Alchemist. in Byrehill. Alison Pearson had also a familiar in the court of Elfland. whose father was king's smith in that town. and said she would repent it. Alison Pearson. On this the green man departed.” Thome Reid attended her. Against this poor woman her own confession. She further confessed that one day as she passed through Grange Muir she lay down in a fit of sickness. tried for invocation of the spirits of the devil. near the eastern port of Edinburgh). and against her will she was obliged to pass with them farther than she could tell. also that she accompanied them into Lothian. and good cheer. William had been taken away. on being. where . and appeared to her very often within four years. All this while she saw nothing. who were performing one of their cavalcades upon earth. In reply she charged him.

carried on her practices with the least possible disguise. an excellent divine and accomplished scholar.she saw puncheons of wine with tasses or drinking-cups. Sometimes. She also confessed that she had seen before sunrise the good neighbours make their salves with pans and fires. George Ross of Balnagowan. The following extraordinary detail involves persons of far higher quality. eating a stewed fowl. and that he taught her what remedies to use. and for this. and. Purpose. they threatened to martyr her. this Alison Pearson transferred the bishop's indisposition from himself to a white palfrey. if the indictment had a syllable of truth. of high rank. and left on it an ugly mark which had no feeling. whether enthusiasts or impostors. they practised their supposed art exclusively for the advantage of mankind. and drinking out at two draughts a quart of claret. but if she told of them and their doings. when he was thus removed. that the widow of Robert. which died in consequence. the present Lady Balnagowan. Another earthen jar (Scotticè pig ) of the same deleterious liquor was prepared by the . Lady Fowlis. She said William Sympson is with tile fairies. created by James VI. The margin of the court-book again bears the melancholy and brief record. by which they hoped to bewitch Robert Munro and Lady Balnagowan. She declared that when she told of these things she was sorely tormented. She also boasted of her favour with the Queen of Elfland and the good friends she hadat that court. and received a blow that took away the power of her left side. The celebrated Patrick Adamson. and how to apply them. Her proposed advantage in this was. Archbishop of St. by birth Katherine Ross of Balnagowan. which she gratified by forming a scheme for compassing his death by unlawful arts. and had not seen tile queen for seven years. Lady Fowlis. medicated with the drugs she recommended.* This poor woman's kinsman. they brewed. At other times they spoke her fair. who was the fifteenth Baron of Fowlis. She assembled persons of the lowest order. eldest son of her husband. She declared that when a whirlwind blew the fairies were commonly there. was also to be removed. they came in such fearful forms as frightened her very much. upon one occasion. both by her own family and that of her husband. Andrews. had a stepmother's quarrel with Robert Munro. her sister-in-law. with which he was charged. and that he lets her know when they are coming. According to the belief of the time. Katherine Munro. and who sought to familiars for more baneful purposes. There is a very severe libel on him for this and other things unbecoming his order. notwithstanding that she was sometimes in disgrace there. Sympson.” The two poor women last mentioned are the more to be pitied as. and that her cousin Sympson confessed that every year the tithe of them were taken away to hell. and promised her that she should never want if faithful. poison so strong that a page tasting of it immediately took sickness. stamped with an infamous celebrity as witches. “Convicta et combusta. swallowed the prescriptions of this poor hypochondriac with good faith and will. and chief of the warlike clan of Munro. besides making pictures or models in clay. she said. did not give better shelter to her than Thome Reid had done to her predecessor. should marry with her brother. and from which we learn that Lethington and Buccleuch were seen by Dame Pearson in the Fairy-land.

It was agreed that the vicarious substitute for Hector must mean George Munro. After ascertaining that the operation of the charm on George Munro. a necessary part of the spell.” and relapsed into silence. one of his stepmother's prosecutors. and Lady Fowlis commanded new figures to be modelled. and tasting of the liquor which had been spilled. produced two of what the common people call elf-arrow heads. it seems.Lady Fowlis. went forth with her accomplices. and. upon a piece of land which formed the boundary betwixt two proprietors. The grave was made as nearly as possible to the size of their patient Hector Munro. and Christian Ross Malcolmson. consulted on his case some of the witches or soothsayers. broke the jar. He did not speak for the space of an hour. Many similar acts of witchcraft and of preparing poisons were alleged against Lady Fowlis. should be suspended for a time. the chief priestess or Nicneven of the company. Her son-in-law. the earth dug out of the grave being laid aside for the time. 1588. The rites that he practised were of an uncouth. and unusual nature. Hector sent at least seven messengers for this young man. impressive. was. by which shots they were broken. What is more to our present purpose. unique manner. Christian Neil Dalyell. by advice of a notorious witch. the patient. who were warned to be strictly . “That he was the better George had come to visit him. barbarous. Hector Munro. active in a similar conspiracy against the life of his own brother. brother to him by the half-blood (the son of the Katherine Lady Fowlis before commemorated). The messenger having stumbled in the dark. being taken ill. but the nurse. till his brother broke silence and asked. I believe. and sent with her own nurse for the purpose of administering it to Robert Munro. one of the assistant hags. The pictures of the intended victims were then set up at the north end of the apartment. Hector. but it was. being. “How he did?” Hector replied. the points of flint used for arming the ends of arrow-shafts in the most ancient times. presently died. an assistant hag. Hector. The answer was unanimous that he must die unless the principal man of his blood should suffer death in his stead. the destined victim. having less sense than the brute beasts. accompanied with all who were entrusted with the secret. was borne forth in a pair of blankets. to avoid suspicion. After midnight the sorceress Marion MacIngarach. called Marion MacIngarach. refusing to receive any of his other friends till he saw the substitute whom he destined to take his place in the grave. the conspirators proceeded to work their spell in a singular. Hector Munro. Lady Fowlis made use of the artillery of Elfland in order to destroy her stepson and sister-in-law. but accounted by the superstitious the weapons by which the fairies were wont to destroy both man and beast. for reasons of his own. and of his own fostermother. which seemed singular when compared with the anxiety he had displayed to see his brother. carrying spades with them. to whom this family appears to have been partial. and a rank grass grew on the spot where it fell. and three against the picture of Robert Munro. The time being January. which sheep and cattle abhorred to touch. When George at length arrived. received him with peculiar coldness and restraint. They then proceeded to dig a grave not far from the seaside. shot two shafts at the image of Lady Balnagowan. Laskie Loncart. in fact.

and that the King of the Fairies gave him a stroke with a white rod over the forehead. It being demanded of him by what means he professed himself to have knowledge of things to come. 1588. Hector Munro was carried to his grave and laid therein. being blindfolded. to present her to trial when charged at Aberdeen to produce her. which took from him the power of speech and the use of one eye. sometimes on Lanark Hill (Tintock. Though one or two inferior persons suffered death on account of the sorceries practised in the house of Fowlis. they pricked the spot with a large pin. and evaded. all remaining mute as before. and accused of having assisted Margaret Barclay. it is said. It might also. whereof he expressed no sense or feeling. He made the usual declaration. died. in Ireland. in some interval of good sense. Pitcairn remarks that the juries. who replied that she chose Hector to live and George to die in his stead. He declared that the use of speech and eyesight was restored to him by the King of Fairies and his company. to sink or cast away a vessel belonging to her own good brother. he met with the King of the Fairies and his company. the Hecate of the night. the Lady Katharine and her stepson Hector had both the unusual good fortune to be found not guilty. Hector was removed from his chilling bed in a January grave and carried home. that they met every Hallow-tide. then sat down by the grave. his brother. while Christian Neil Dalyell. the foster-mother. which he wanted for the space of three years. and that he was then taught by them. made her keeper of his sheep. and the grave secured with stakes as at a real funeral. the earth being filled in on him. that he . in Galway. perhaps). and the deceased being only taken ill of his fatal disease in April 1590. and after the intervention of twelve months George Munro. leading a boy in her hand. and. Hector took the principal witch into high favour. The consequence of a process which seems ill-adapted to produce the former effect was that Hector Munro recovered. also. on an Hallowe'en night.* Another instance of the skill of a sorcerer being traced to the instructions of the elves is found in the confession of John Stewart. but professing skill in palmistry and jugglery. and that since that time he had joined these people every Saturday at seven o'clock. This form of incantation was thrice repeated ere Mr. being composed of subordinate persons not suitable to the rank or family of the person tried. called a vagabond. he being travelling on All-Hallow Even night. coming again to the grave where Hector Munro was interred alive. has all the appearance of having been packed on purpose for acquittal. sometimes on Kilmaurs Hill. Mr. Marion MacIngarach. creep into the heads of Hector Munro's assize that the enchantment being performed in January. he said. ran the breadth of about nine ridges distant. the said John confessed that the space of twenty-six years ago. or Dein. at the town of Dublin. the distance between the events might seem too great to admit the former being regarded as the cause of the latter.silent till the chief sorceress should have received her information from the angel whom they served. demanded of the witch which victim she would choose. whereupon the prisoner. between the towns of Monygoif (so spelled) and Clary. the King of the Fairies struck him with a white rod. He pointed out the spot of his forehead on which. and remained with them all the night.

where the mountain opened to receive them. and calling. and they entered a fair big room. These need be the less insisted upon in this place. Then came the sport of the meeting. or rushes. all such fell under the witches' power. She added. as bright as day. but her master forbade her. whose names he rehearsed particularly. she said. though we may revert to the execrable proceedings which then took place against this miserable juggler and the poor women who were accused of the same crime. 1662. as usual. A shaft was also aimed at the Reverend Harrie Forbes. and the witch would have taken aim again. These animals are probably the water-bulls. and the latter perfecting and finishing (or. a parish and burgh of barony in the county of Nairne. and not the elves. and they acquired the right of shooting at him. At the entrance ramped and roared the large fairy bulls. as the arch-fiend. On another occasion this frank penitent confesses her presence at a rendezvous of witches. At present it is quoted as another instance of a fortune-teller referring to Elfland as the source of his knowledge. in the Dounie Hills. where. drinking. To this strange and very particular confession we shall have occasion to recur when witchcraft is the more immediate subject. the death for which she was most sorry being that of William Brown. and blends the operations of witchcraft with the facilities afforded by the fairies. famous both in Scottish and Irish tradition. 1659. What is above narrated marks the manner in which the . they flew wherever they listed. that the King of Fairy is a brave man. “Horse and Hatch. bean-stalks. a minister who was present at the examination of Isobel. and wasting the goods of their neighbours into whose houses they could penetrate. implicates. The confession of a woman called Isobel Gowdie. Lammas. in the Milntown of Mains. dighting) it. the former forming and sharpening the dart from the rough flint. which frightened her much. Yet she had been. that the queen is bravely clothed in white linen and in white and brown cloth. which always alarmed Isobel Gowdie. At Auldearne. saying the reverend gentleman's life was not subject to their power. as it is called. in the Devil's name !” which is the elfin signal for mounting. they at length came to the dounie Hills. The arrow fell short. and got meat there from the Queen of Fairies more than she could eat. The elves and the arch-fiend laboured jointly at this task. If the little whirlwind which accompanies their transportation passed any mortal who neglected to bless himself. and there were elf-bulls roaring and skoilling at the entrance of their palace.had seen many persons at the Court of Fairy. The witches bestrode either corn-straws. after they had rambled through the country in different shapes — of cats. With this man's evidence we have at present no more to do. In their caverns the fairies manufactured those elf-arrow heads with which the witches and they wrought so much evil. had the immediate agency in the abominations which she narrates. the epidemic terror of witches seems to have gone very far. and declared that all such persons as are taken away by sudden death go with the King of Elfland. and the like — eating. The penitent prisoner gives the names of many whom she and her sisters had so slain. the confessing party. the Court of Fairy. hares. of date April. which are not supposed to be themselves altogether canny or safe to have concern with.

in the end of the seventeenth century. Dr. the Rev. therefore. The milk cannot be stolen if the mouth of the calf. the author. what is more material. which have something of the subtlety of thunderbolts. but they have no Bibles or works of devotion. To proceed to more modern instances of persons supposed to have fallen under the power of the fairy race. Although. Mr. so much was this the case formerly. and burials. is to be seen at the east end of the churchyard at Aberfoyle. in some respect. who have resolutely maintained secure footing in a region so well suited for their residence. rocks. many light toyish books (novels and plays. should be less than mortally offended at the temerity of the reverend author. The essayist fails not to mention the elf-arrow heads. comprehending so many lakes. He was. Fawnes. or fairy mount. minister of the Gospel. for the purpose of giving them to the public. “with undoubting mind. and of carrying away. and within the Highland line. successively minister of the Highland parishes of Balquidder and Aberfoyle. that Mr.belief in that crime was blended with the fairy superstition. lying adjacent to the place of eternal punishment. The remedy is easy in both cases. and can mortally wound the vital parts without breaking the skin.”* In this discourse. lying in the most romantic district of Perthshire. very easily come by. says the reverend author. and the woman in travail is safe if a piece of cold iron is put into the bed. we must not forget the Reverend Robert Kirke. These beautiful and wild regions. while in his latter charge of Aberfoyle. of a kind betwixt humanity and angels — says. or the like. that. Kirke was walking one evening in his night-gown upon a Dun-shi. sequestered valleys. doubtless). which the unenlightened . have a savour odious to these “fascinating creatures. It was by no means to be supposed that the elves. These wounds. yet those acquainted with his real history do not believe that he enjoys the natural repose of the tomb. Kirke accounts for this by informing us that the great northern mines of iron. what one would not expect. deaths. or double-men.” They have. has informed us of the general belief that. others on Rosycrucian subjects. corresponding with mortals existing on earth. Kirke accuses them of stealing the milk from the cows. he has himself observed in beasts. the first translator of the Psalms into Gaelic verse.” describes the fairy race as a sort of astral spirits. His successor. and that individual apparitions. are found among them. and Fairies. found materials for collecting and compiling his Essay on the “Subterranean and for the most part Invisible People heretofore going under the name of Elves. Mr. marriages. with his name duly inscribed. and of an abstruse mystical character. and felt the fatal lacerations which he could not see. who had pryed so deeply into their mysteries. Grahame. behold! he sunk down in what seemed to be a fit of apoplexy. he says. the women in pregnancy. that they have children. before be is permitted to suck. Kirke. be rubbed with a certain balsam. they represent mortal men. as Mr. the learned divine's monument. nurses. in the vicinity of the manse or parsonage. are not even yet quite abandoned by the fairies. like mortals in appearance. and dim copsewoods. so jealous and irritable a race as to be incensed against those who spoke of them under their proper names. and new-born children from their nurses. Indeed.

but the mother had expired in convulsions. The life of the excellent person who told it was. Kirke was visibly seen while they were seated at table. I may quote a story of a nature somewhat similar to that of Mas Robert Kirke. but Grahame of Duchray. when the place and its vicinity were alarmed by the following story: — An industrious man. a colour fatal to several families in Scotland. in his astonishment. failed to perform the ceremony enjoined. I am lost for ever. and mentions their displeasure at any one who assumes their accustomed livery of green. but a captive in Fairyland. and only one chance remains for my liberation. of which my wife has been delivered since my disappearance. Grahame of Aberfoyle. James Grahame.” Duchray was apprised of what was to be done. the form of the Rev. as the day of the Crucifixion. if Duchray shall throw over my head the knife or dirk which lie holds in his hand. from affording us some curious information on fairy superstition. After the ceremony of a seeming funeral. ancestor of the present General Graham Stirling. shall be brought to baptism. author of “The Sabbath. The terrible visitation of fairy vengeance which has lighted upon Mr. but if this opportunity is neglected. that he had a piece of green whipcord to complete the lash of his hunting-whip. also. having come by a bad fall. when. was so unfortunate as to die during the birth of a fourth child. which took place in her childhood. might happen before the middle of last century.” would not break through this ancient prejudice of his clan. When the posthumous child. for the benefit of her friends and the poor. to the whole race of the gallant Grahames in particular. that my late amiable friend. so I conceive that this adventure. who. after bearing two or three children. a weaver in the little town. when. as the Ocean to poor Falconer. moreover. She was residing with some relations near the small seaport town of North Berwick. and the apparition of Mr. He tells us that these capricious elves are chiefly dangerous on a Friday. evil spirits have most power. and it is to be feared that Mr. while the more understanding knew it to be a swoon produced by the supernatural influence of the people whose precincts he had violated. “Say to Duchray. To return from the Perthshire fairies. who perished at sea after having written his popular poem of “The Shipwreck” — “Thou hast proclaimed our power — be thou our prey!” Upon this subject the reader may consult a very entertaining little volume. Robert Kirke appeared to a relation. Kirke still “drees his weird in Fairyland. insomuch that we have beard that in battle a Grahame is generally shot through the green check of his plaid. I will appear in the room. he thought it sufficient to account for it. protracted to an unusual duration. that a veteran sportsman of the name. but had his library table covered with blue or black cloth. who is my cousin as well as your own. was married to a beautiful woman. I may be restored to society. that I am not dead. Dr.” the Elfin state declaring to him. called “Sketches of Perthshire. and commanded him to go to Grahame of Duchray. and as . The infant was saved. rather than use the fated colour commonly employed on such occasions. Kirke has not intimidated his successor. The ceremony took place. I remember.”* by the Rev. an excellent man and good antiquary.took for death.

upbraided him with want of love and affection. whilst her character for temper seemed to warrant her good usage of his children. as if to assure him of the reality of the vision. Matthew Reid. like the minister of Aberfoyle. The next morning the terrified widower carried a statement of his perplexity to Mr. As the man had really loved his late partner. the clergyman. Mr. and with these recalled the extraordinary rumours which were afloat at the time of her decease. Matthew Reid) for the due proclamation of banns. as it was usually termed. it became an opinion among her gossips that. He readily found a neighbour with whose good looks he was satisfied. and this ghastly corpse substituted in the place of the body. she would never have power to visit earth or communicate with him again. began to think on the prudence of forming a new marriage. ashamed and puzzled. it is likely that this proposed decisive alteration of his condition brought back many reflections concerning the period of their union. again recover my station in human society. and conjured him. from the comfortless realms of Elfland. and gave it suck. the visitation was again repeated. to a poor artisan with so young a family.she was much disfigured after death. or winning her back. took no measures in consequence. besides being an excellent divine in .” In the morning the poor widower was distressed with the recollection of his dream. and without the assistance of a housewife. with the clergyman at their head. stood by the side of his bed. “The clergyman is to recite certain prayers. which. renowned for his strength. at the ghostly hour of midnight. On the third night she appeared with a sorrowful and displeased countenance. and the efforts of my loving husband and neighbours. he beheld. upon which. and you must have the fleetest runner of the parish (naming a man famed for swiftness) to pursue me. In order to convince him there was no delusion. I believe. and. and should disinter the coffin in which she was supposed to have been buried. she must have been carried off by the elves. and with astonishment heard her say.” said the apparition. Kirke. the figure of a female dressed in white. and in that case I shall. A second night. as is not very surprising. awake as he thought. was almost a matter of necessity. be “saw in his dream” that she took up the nursling at whose birth she had died. and such a one. she told him that if all the love which he once had for her was not entirely gone. She charged him on a certain day of the ensuing week that he should convene the most respectable housekeepers in the town. who entered his hut. if he now neglected. but. an opportunity still remained of recovering her. from some neglect of those who ought to have watched the sick woman. which. Like Mr. the smith. so that the whole forced upon him the following lively dream: — As he lay in his bed. This reverend person. too. that she was not dead. to attend to her instructions. and appeared to him the very likeness of his late wife. “I will start from the coffin and fly with great speed round the church. to hold me fast after I am overtaken. but the unwilling captive of the Good Neighbours. The widower paid little attention to these rumours. after bitterly lamenting his wife for a year of mourning. He proposed himself and was accepted. she spilled also a drop or two of her milk on the poor man's bed-clothes. and carried the names of the parties to the clergyman (called. by the prayers of the church. He conjured her to speak. for the last time.

as they are called in Gaelic) — came under Pennant's notice so late as during that observant traveller's tour in 1769. but as a saint in Heaven. who understood the human passions. whom he soon saw floating through the air towards him. and the perplexed widower had no more visitations from his former spouse. perhaps the latest which has been made public. and for whom you may have thoughts of affection and sorrow. if you think of the former. and not as a prisoner in Elfland. but a female sprite. He explained to the widower that no created being could have the right or power to imprison or detain the soul of a Christian — conjured him not to believe that his wife was otherwise disposed of than according to God's pleasure — assured him that Protestant doctrine utterly denies the existence of any middle state in the world to come — and explained to him that he. whom the old dreamer had named. and that be had almost lost his speech. He did not attempt to combat the reality of the vision which had thrown his parishioner into this tribulation. and with a hollow sound. that they very roughly pushed him to and fro. and conveyed over a wall into an adjacent corn-field.” The advice was taken. but she told him she was at that time in too much haste to attend to him. and. of communication with the Restless People — (a more proper epithet than that of Daoine Shi . but on his uttering the name of God all vanished. it will be only as of one from whom death has separated you. but bid him go away and no harm should befall him. obliged him to promise an assignation at that very hour that day seven-night. that he found himself surrounded by a crowd of men and women. confounded and perplexed by various feelings. neither could nor dared authorize opening graves or using the intervention of prayer to sanction rites of a suspicious character. was at the same time a man. asked his pastor what he should do. and mingling together like bees going to hive. many of whom he knew to have been dead for some years. of sagacity. and who appeared to him skimming over the tops of the unbending corn. But it is incredible the mischief these agri somnia did in the neighbourhood. “A poor visionary who had been working in his cabbage-garden (in Breadalbane) imagined that he was raised suddenly up into the air.other respects. as a clergyman of the Church of Scotland. seizing him by the shoulder. and so the affair rested when I left the country. and the good minister will have many a weary discourse and exhortation before he can eradicate the . that be spoke to her. we give the tourist's own words. were in the utmost anxiety at finding them in such bad company in the other world.” said the clergyman. that they spoke an unknown language. “Get your new bride's consent to be married to-morrow. the almost extinct belief of the old idle tales began to gain ground. The poor man. or Men of Peace. The friends and neighbours of the deceased. Being perhaps the latest news from the invisible commonwealth. I will take it on me to dispense with the rest of the banns. “I will give you my best advice. or proclaim them three times in one day. An instance. that he then found his hair was all tied in double knots (well known by the name of elf-locks). that he kept his word with the spectre. if you can. You will have a new wife. but he contended it could be only an illusion of the devil. or to-day. who.

321. except he receive injury. or Highlanders. Alison Pearson. formerly of middle earth. 21. Esq. These instances may tend to show how the fairy superstition.”* It is scarcely necessary to add that this comparatively recent tale is just the counterpart of the story of Bessie Dunlop. He talketh with men friendly. * See “Scottish Poems.. sometimes visibly. which afforded pretext for such cruel practical consequences.) in Scotland. 191201. as they second sight. the antiquary. Immediate Effect of Christianity on Articles of Popular Superstition — Chaucer's Account of the Roman Catholic Priests banishing the Fairies — Bishop Corbett imputes the same Effect to the Reformation — His Verses on that Subject — His Iter Septentrionale — Robin Goodfellow and other Superstitions mentioned by Reginald Scot — Character of the English Fairies — The Tradition had become obsolete in that Author's Time — That of Witches remained in vigour — But impugned by various Authors after the Reformation. to occasion farther enquiry. 1815. the Gael. by Robert Pitcairn. p. i. * Edinburgh. to occasion are described by those who have the second sight. who attached themselves to the child of humanity. The curious collection of trials.e . Naudæus. in its general sense of worshipping the Dii Campestres. and reprinted. while yet a semibarbarous people. * Pitcairn's “Trials. * Pennant's “Tour in Scotland. came to bear upon and have connexion with that horrid belief in witchcraft which cost so many innocent persons and crazy impostors their lives for the supposed commission of impossible crimes.” vol. and who endeavoured to protect a fellowmortal against their less philanthropic companions. In the next chapter I propose to trace how the general disbelief in the fairy creed began to take place. Edinburgh. which. and the poet. collected and compared.” It-was printed with the author's name in 1691. 110 LETTER VI. &c. was much the older of the two. nor yet be mocked. * The title continues-"Among the Low Country Scots. Remigius. and gradually brought into discredit the supposed feats of witchcraft. that it is equally worth the attention of the historian. pp.” now in the course of publication. and others — Demonology defended by Bodinus.” by Reginald Scot. but he cannot abide that. all of whom found in Elfland some friend. affords so singular a picture of the manners and habits of our ancestors. book i. chap.” annexed to “The Discovery of Witchcraft. as Wierus.” vol. i. sometimes invisibly. 1812. * Hudkin is a very familiar devil. There go as many tales upon this Hudkin in some parts of Germany as there did in England on Robin Goodfellow. Dalzell. — Their mutual Abuse of each other — .. p. the philosopher.” edited by John G. — “Discourse concerning Devils. and of the Irish butler who was so nearly carried off. who will do nobody hurt. from “The Criminal Records of Scotland.absurd ideas this idle story has revived. by a circumspect enquirer residing among the Scottish-Irish (i. and now. for Longman & Co. and now. Scot.

As thick as motes in the sunne-beam. and the Predominance of Mysticism in that Department.* and other holy freres. from popular faith. as I rede I speake of many hundred years ago. with her joly company. Individual instances of scepticism there might exist among scholars.” When we see the opinion which Chaucer has expressed of the regular clergy of his time. with a vein of humour not unworthy of Geoffrey himself. castles high and towers. has with greater probability delayed the final banishment of the fairies from England. Two or three verses of this lively satire may be very well worth the reader's notice. And saith his mattins. it will be observed. Thropes and barnes. with its monks and preaching friars. Women may now go safely up and doun In every bush. be informed that the . sheep-pens and dairies. in proportion as its light became more pure and refined from the devices of men. That searchen every land and every stream. and may go some length to establish the existence of doubts concerning the general belief in fairies among the well-instructed in the time of Edward III. expelled from the land all spirits of an inferior and less holy character. but a more modern poet. Danced full oft in many a grene mead. in some of his other tales. that is. Blessing halls. This was the old opinion. There is no other incubus than he. kitchenes. till the reign of Queen Elizabeth. and under every tree. the compliment of having. at the same time. indeed. But now can no man see no elves mo. This maketh that there ben no fairies. The Elf queen. And he ne will don them no dishonour. The fairies of whom the bard of Woodstock talks are. The poet Chaucer. and he seems to refer for the authorities of his tale to Bretagne.Imperfection of Physical Science at this Period. Of which that Bretons speken great honour. The verses are curious as well as picturesque. who must. to the warmth and zeal of the devotion of the limitary friars. ALTHOUGH the influence of the Christian religion was not introduced to the nations of Europe with such radiance as to dispel at once those clouds of superstition which continued to obscure the understanding of hasty and ill-instructed converts. and which gave way before it. and his holy things. There walketh now the limitour himself. with which the land was “fulfilled” in King Arthur's time. In under nichtes and in morwenings. and boures. the ancient Celtic breed. or Armorica. All was this land fulfilled of faerie. pays the Church of Rome. For now the great charity and prayers Of limitours. chambers. As he goeth in his limitation. at an early period. there can be no doubt that its immediate operation went to modify the erroneous and extravagant articles of credulity which lingered behind the old pagan faith. and has represented their expulsion as a consequence of the change of religion. we are tempted to suspect some mixture of irony in the compliment which ascribes the exile of the fairies. Cities and burghes. For there as wont to walken was an elf. genuine Celtic colony: — “In old time of the King Artour.

merrily went their tabor. Or else they take their ease. or domestic seems uncertain. Their dances were procession. in Queen Mary's days.' Thought I. and kept. — 'Turn your cloaks. The poem is named “A proper new Ballad. And later James came in. rewards and fairies. whence the concluding verse — “To William all give audience. In strokes will prove the better conjuror. Dr. has doubt. When Tom came home from labour. But some have changed your land And all your children sprung from hence Are now grown Puritans. old abbies. Then turn your cloaks. On many a graspy plain. 'for Puck is busy in these oaks. Though William. much it would seem to the amusement of the witty bishop. to the tune of the Meadow Brow by the learned. For all the fairies' evidence Were lost if that were addle.” but whether William was guide. for this is fairy ground.author. entitled the Fairies' Farewell. So little care of sleep and sloth Those pretty ladies had. And merrily went their toes. tili he could say. For now foul slats in dairies Do fare as well as they. and their route becomes so confused that they return on their steps and labour — As in a conjuror's circle — William found A mean for our deliverance. the fairies Were of the old profession. Corbett. 'Tis Robin.”* This William Chourne appears to have attended Dr. was nothing less than the Bishop of Oxford and Norwich in the beginning of the seventeenth century. to be sung or whistle. yonder Bosworth stands.” The remaining part of the poem is dedicated to the praise d glory of old William Chourne of Staffordshire. and this your way. They did but change priests' babies. Good housewives now may say. The fairies' lost command. If ever you at Bosworth would be found. And pray ye for his noddle. or some sprite that walks about. 'and it will turn to air — Cross yourselves thrice and strike it. which yet remain. Witness those rings and roundelays Of theirs. we meet A very man who had no cloven feet. But now. Yet who of late for cleanliness Finds sixpence in her shoe? Lament. where they grew. who remained a true and stanch evidence in behalf of the departed elves. lament. “two of which were. Or gone beyond the seas Or farther for religion fled. Who live as changelings ever since For love of your domains. friend. And rode along so far. Their songs were Ave Maries.' quoth he. and two desired to be. Corbett's party on the iter septentrionale. “By which we note. by the unlearned to the tune of Fortune:” — Farewell. You merry were and glad. But since of late Elizabeth. Were footed. Then merrily.”' * .' But 'twas a gentle keeper. doctors.' But ere this witchcraft was performed. At morning and at evening both. They never danced on any heath As when the time hath bin. alas ! they all are dead. still of little faith. an inexhaustible record of their pranks and feats. 'for sure this massy forester. one that knew Humanity and manners. The travellers lose themselves in the mazes of Chorley Forest on their way to Bosworth. And though they sweep their hearths no less Than maids were wont to do. 'See. 'Strike him.' Quoth he.' — 'Strike that dare. Or Cis to milking rose.

Tom Tumbler. Boh ! and they have so frayd us with bull-beggars. be detected and vanish away. giants. and I might conjecture that the man-inthe-oak was the same with the Erl-König of the Germans. calcars. and that the hellwain were a kind of wandering spirits. Tom Thumb. where a right hardy man heretofore durst not to have passed by night but his hair would stand upright. Pans. changelings. and many times is taken for our father's soul. and a tail at his breech . talking of times before his own. the spoorn. spirits. nymphs. “some one knave in a white sheet hath cozened and abused many thousands. urchins. conjurers. whereby we start and are afraid when we hear one cry. specially when Robin Goodfellow kept such a coil in the country. “Certainly. the puckle. produced also its natural effect upon the other stock of superstitions. and then a polled sheep is a perilous beast. that we are afraid of our own shadows. Boneless. tritons. since the courteous keeper was mistaken by their associate champion for Puck or Robin Goodfellow. elves. sylvans. specially in a churchyard.” said Reginald Scot. insomuch that some never fear the devil but on a dark night . into the preceding passage. hags. Corbett prudently thinks. It is not the less certain that. who declaimed against the “splendid miracles” of the Church of Rome. and doubtless the rest of these illusions will in a short time. the fire-drake. this wretched and cowardly infidelity. The spells resorted to to get rid of his supposed delusions are alternative that of turning the cloak — (recommended in visions of the second-sight or similar illusions as a means of obtaining a certainty concerning the being which is before imperfectly seen ) — and that of exorcising the spirit with a cudgel which last. dwarfs. Robin Goodfellow. imps. and in the time of Queen Elizabeth the unceasing labour of many and popular preachers. I might indeed say the Phuca is a Celtic superstition. Hobgoblin. Chaucer. satyrs. therefore. Kitt-with-the-candlestick. fangs like a dog. a skin like a negro. In our childhood our mothers' maids have so terrified us with an ugly devil having horns on his head. could not be serious in averring that the fairy superstitions were obsolete in his day. is in part forgotten. by God's grace. thanks be to God. incubus. the superstitious fancies of the people sunk gradually in esteem and influence . fire in his mouth. the hellwain. faunes. eyes like a basin. and a voice roaring like a lion. But . centaurs. claws like a bear. who are introduced into the romance of Richard sans Peur. the man-in-the-oak. witches. ought not to be resorted to unless under an absolute conviction that the exorcist is the stronger party. as knowledge and religion became more widely and brightly displayed over any country. from which the word Pook or Puckle was doubtless derived. and such other bugbears. since they were found current three centuries afterwards.In this passage the bishop plainly shows the fairies maintained their influence in William's imagination. Well. fairies. since the preaching of the Gospel.”* It would require a better demonologist than I am to explain the various obsolete superstitions which Reginald Scot has introduced as articles of the old English faith. the descendants of a champion named Hellequin.

how. or Robin Goodfellow. departed from the family in displeasure. If he condescended to do some work for the sleeping family. their peculiar sense of cleanliness rewarded the housewives with the silver token in the shoe. and pulled her down the wooden stairs by the heels. as compared . who to the elves acted in some measure as the jester or clown of the company — (a character then to be found in the establishment of every person of quality) — or to use a more modern comparison. in the poem of L'Allegro. and a basin of sweet cream. had substituted a brown loaf and a cobb of herrings.most antiquaries will be at fault concerning the spoorn. on the contrary. were his special enjoyments. Robin Goodfellow. as of a cheerful rather than a serious cast . their resentments were satisfied with pinching or scratching the objects of their displeasure . And it is to be noticed that lie represents these tales of the fairies. His jests were of the most simple and at the same time the broadest comic character — to mislead a clown on his path homeward. The amusements of the southern. from the insinuations of some scrupulous divines. except. The constant attendant upon the English Fairy court was the celebrated Puck. however. than that received among the sister people. The catalogue. resembled the Pierrot of the pantomime. shortly after the death of what is called a nice tidy housewife. and I cannot discern. who. the selfish Puck was far from practising this labour on the disinterested principle of the northern goblin. if raiment or food was left in his way and for his use. at the same time. amid his other notices of country superstitions. in scorn of her churlish hospitality — “Brown bread and herring cobb ! Thy fat sides shall have many a bob!” But beyond such playful malice they had no desire to extend their resentment. duly placed for their refreshment by the deceased. fairies were light and sportive. perhaps. told round the cottage hearth. in order to induce an old gossip to commit the egregious mistake of sitting down on the floor when she expected to repose on a chair. less wild and necromantic character. with whom the widower had filled his deserted arms. the elves dragged the peccant housewife out of bed. Before leaving the subject of fairy superstition in England we may remark that it was of a more playful and gentle. in forgetting the very names of objects which had been the sources of terror to their ancestors of the Elizabethan age. that they were vassals to or in close alliance with the infernals. Incensed at such a coarse regale. in which he had some resemblance to the Scottish household spirit called a Brownie. Boneless.* The common nursery story cannot be forgotten. as there is too much reason to believe was the case with their North British sisterhood. their nicety was extreme concerning any coarseness or negligence which could offend their delicacy. repeating. must have both his food and his rest. as Milton informs us. which illustrates what I have said concerning the milder character of the southern superstitions. and some others. to disguise himself like a stool. the Elfin band was shocked to see that a person of different character. instead of the nicely arranged little loaf of the whitest bread. Kitt-with-the-candlestick. serves to show what progress the English have made in two centuries.

or the turfy swell of her romantic commons. as was afterwards but too well shown. means nothing more than an Utopia or nameless country. But it is in vain to regret illusions which. and in time to come a witch will be as much derided and condemned. had been obscured by oblivion even in the days of Queen Bess. to take in good part my writings. and with indifferent eyes to look upon my book. Poor Robin. that great and ancient bull-beggar. in the gentle moonlight of a summer night in England.” This passage seems clearly to prove that the belief in Robin Goodfellow and his fairy companions was now out of date. were labour lost and time ill-employed. as they have diviners.” We are then to take leave of this fascinating article of the popular creed. like shadows at the advance of morn. These superstitions have already survived their best and most useful purpose.”* In the same tone Reginald Scot addresses the reader in the preface: — “To make a solemn suit to you that are partial readers to set aside partiality. must of necessity yield their place before the increase of knowledge. and Popery is sufficiently discovered. having in it so much of interest to the imagination that we almost envy the credulity of those who. to the people as hags and witches be now . soothsayers. as the illusion and knavery of Robin Goodfellow. I should have entreated your predecessors to believe that Robin Goodfellow. nevertheless. amid the tangled glades of a deep forest. But Robin Goodfellow ceaseth now to be much feared. witches' charms and conjurers' cozenage are yet effectual. that which follows from the same author affirms more positively that Robin's date was over: — “Know ye this. poisoners. and cozeners by the name of witches. as he uses it. a hundred years since. having been embalmed in the poetry of Milton and of Shakespeare. With the fairy popular creed fell. and no devil indeed. in a passage quoted from Reginald Scot. by the way. many subordinate articles of credulity in England. and. kept its ground against argument and controversy. between whom and King Oberon Shakespeare contrives to keep a degree of distinct subordination. and survived “to shed more blood. which for a moment deceives us by its appearance of reality.with those of the same class in Scotland — the stories of which are for the most part of a frightful and not seldom of a disgusting quality. and also as credible. however. could fancy they saw the fairies tracing their sportive ring. however engaging. and as clearly perceived. as I well as writers only inferior to these great names. upon whom there have gone as many and as credible tales as witchcraft. merchant. had been but a cozening. but the belief in witches kept its ground. for I should no more prevail herein than if. We have already seen. notwithstanding his turn for wit and humour. doubtless. while that as to witchcraft. saving that it hath not pleased the translators of tile Bible to call spirits by the name of Robin Goodfellow. that heretofore Robin Goodfellow and Hobgoblin were as terrible. Of Spenser we must say nothing. because in his “Faery Queen” the title is the only circumstance which connects his splendid allegory with the popular superstition. that the belief was fallen into abeyance. It was rooted in the minds of the .

They might say to the theologist. on the other . and of the accused persons themselves. the sufficing cause to which superstition attributes all that is beyond her own narrow power of explanation. had introduced a system of doubt. or countenance imposture. in which the word witch . and perhaps no little ill-will. was a man of great research in physical science. The learned Wier. Learned writers arose in different countries to challenge the very existence of this imaginary crime. The courageous interposition of those philosophers who opposed science and experience to the prejudices of superstition and ignorance. the fearless investigations of the Reformers into subjects thought formerly too sacred for consideration of any save the clergy. These two circumstances furnished the numerous believers in witchcraft with arguments in divinity and law which they conceived irrefragable. have attested. which rejects the evidence of Scripture. directed the 'punishment of death. The pursuers of exact science to its coy retreats. as well by the easy solution it afforded of much which they found otherwise bard to explain. were sure to be the first to discover that the most remarkable phenomena in Nature are regulated by certain fixed laws. and cannot rationally be referred to supernatural agency. acknowledged their guilt and the justice of their punishment? It is a strange scepticism. had caused them to be suspected of magic. on subjects which had occupied the bulls of popes and decrees of councils. many or even most of whom have. — to the jurisconsult. the spirit of the age was little disposed to spare error. and studied under the celebrated Cornelius Agrippa. conveyed to those who did not trouble themselves about the nicety of the translation from the Eastern tongues. they might add. and unhesitating exercise of the private judgment. superior to that of their age. as in reverence to the Holy Scriptures. and defenceless. Each advance in natural knowledge teaches us that it is the pleasure of 'the Creator to govern the world by the laws which he has imposed. and which could only be compared to that which sent victims of old through the fire to Moloch. to rescue the reputation of the great men whose knowledge. In short. disregard of authority. Notwithstanding these specious reasons. and to put a stop to the horrid superstition whose victims were the aged. claim for them some distinction in a work on Demonology. the invention of printing. enquiry. the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were periods when the revival o learning. and in doing so incurred much misrepresentation. and which are not in our times interrupted or suspended. however sanctioned by length of time and universal acquiescence. by laws upon which hundreds and thousands have been convicted. however venerable. against whom the charge of sorcery was repeatedly alleged by Paulus Jovius and other authors. while he suffered. when unsupported by argument. in the cause of truth and humanity. the inference that the same species of witches were meant as those against whom modern legislation had. or Wierus. and the code of almost all civilized countries. in most European nations. Will you not believe in witches? the Scriptures aver their existence. of human legislature.common people. ignorant. by their judicial confessions. Will you dispute the existence of a crime against which our own statute-book. being used in several places.

was a perfect scholar and man of letters. of whom Bodin and some others neither wanted knowledge nor powers of reasoning. and boldly assailed. They pressed the incredulous party with the charge that they denied the existence of a crime against which the haw had denounced a capital punishment.” and as he exhibited a good deal of vivacity of talent. but he also writes on the general question with some force and talent. He was. busied during his whole life with assembling books together. of the time . both by serious arguments and by ridicule. one of whom he brings forward to declare the vanity of the science which he himself had once professed. This learned man. was one of the first who attacked the vulgar belief. upon this subject. and enjoying the office of librarian to several persons of high rank. Harsnet and many others (who wrote rather on special cases of Demonology than on the general question). after taking his degree as a doctor of medicine. and of a good family. whose accusation against this celebrated man was. leading a most unblemished life. more easy to defame than to answer. at whose court he practised for thirty years with the highest reputation. who Was reigning monarch during the hottest part . yet did he not escape the scandal which is usually flung by their prejudiced contemporaries upon those disputants whom it is found. which consists in corresponding with them. or Naudæus. the popular ideas concerning witchcraft. to Queen Christina of Sweden. and is of a nature particularly seductive to an excursive tale He appears to have studied legerdemain for the purpose of showing how much that is apparently unaccountable can nevertheless be performed without the intervention of supernatural assistance. entitled “Apologie pour les Grands Hommes Accusés de Magie. To defend the popular belief of witchcraft there arose a number of advocates. and other supernatural fancies. even when it is impossible to persuade the vulgar that the devil has not been consulted on the occasion. which did not always spare some of the superstitions of Rome herself. from the persecution of the inquisitors of the Church. purged their eye with rue and euphrasie. besides the Rev. or Philomaths. He wrote an interesting work. disregarding the scandal which. Reginald Scot ought to be distinguished. as well as that of Harsnet. the vulgar credulity on the subject of wizards and witches. As that law was under he stood to emanate from James himself. and an earnestness in pleading his cause. amongst others. Wierus. possession. Scot also had intercourse with some of the celebrated fortune-tellers. and so temperate as never to taste any liquor stronger than water. pious. a charge very inconsistent with that of sorcery. Webster assures us that he was a “person of competent learning.” He seems to have been a zealous Protestant. besides.hand. considering that his subject is incapable of being reduced into a regular form. that he denied the existence of spirits. became physician to the Duke of Cleves. when justice could only accuse him of an incautious eagerness to make good his argument. he was charged by his contemporaries as guilty of heresy and scepticism. by confederacy and imposture. is designed to throw upon the Papists in particular those tricks in which. Dr. and much his book. he was likely to bring upon himself. were maintained and kept in exercise. Among persons who. a beneficed clergyman. by so doing. Gabriel Naudé. as he termed himself.

judges. Bodin. only insisting that it was a species of witchcraft consisting of they knew not what. to avoid maintaining an argument unpalatable to a degree to those in power. from the state of physic science at the period when Van Helmont. and how they me to be such — according to the scholastic jargon. Secondly. with some inconsistency. suspicious from the place where found it. an others began to penetrate into its recesses it was an unknown. by stating that he himself was a conjurer and the scholar of Cornelius Agrippa. league with an. and began to call names. but only de modo existendi. and which. obscure. and might therefore well desire to the lives of those accused of the same. In the meantime (the rather that the debate was on a subject particularly difficult of comprehension) the debating parties grew warm. with the charms for raising and for binding to the service of mortals. as the affirming and defending the existence of the rime seemed to increase the number of witches. as if it were impossible for any to hold the opinion of Naudæus. and which might perchance have proved unsafe to those who used it. and might exist. without patronizing the devil and the witches against their brethren of mortality. But for a certain time the preponderance of the argument lay on the side of the Demonologists. Paracelsus. witch-advocates. which he had copied from the original in the library of Cornelius Agrippa. Delrio. not one the wisest. t: only demurred to what is their nature.. . the English authors who defended the opposite side were obliged to entrench themselves under an evasion. Wierus. had introduced into his work against witchcraft the whole Stenographia of Trithemius. certainly. and ill-defined region. Hence they threw on their antagonists the offensive names of witch-patrons and witch-advocates. but certainly of something different from that which legislators. was considered by Bodin as containing proof that Wierus himself was a sorcerer. By resorting to so subtle an argument those who impugned the popular belief were obliged. &c. since he thus unnecessarily placed the disposal of any who might buy the book the whole secrets which formed his stock-in-trade. and we may briefly observe the causes which gave their opinions. the philosophers themselves lost patience. and from the long catalogue of fiends which it contained. a lively Frenchman of an irritable habit. for a period. Scot. for what reason cannot well be conjectured. greater influence than their opponents on the public mind. that e question in respect to witches was not de existentia. except to show the extent of his cabalistical knowledge. and retorted abuse in their turn. It is first to be observed that Wierus. and the like. With a certain degree of sophistry they answered that they did not doubt the possibility of witches. Assailed by such heavy charges. to grant that witchcraft had existed. and others who used their arguments. and juries had hitherto considered the statute as designed to repress.of the controversy. explained the zeal of Wierus to protect the tribe of sorcerers from punishment. we may notice that. and assuredly augmented the list of executions. calling Bodin. and did not permit those who laboured in it to give that precise and accurate account of their discoveries which the progress of reason experimentally and from analysis has enabled the late discoverers to do with success.

Physical science. opinions which our more experienced age would reject as frivolous fancies. the circumstance.” This substitution of mystical fancies for experimental reasoning gave. “Geographers on pathless downs Place elephants for want of towns. for the same reason that. and detected murders as well a springs of water by the divining-rod. the curing of various diseases by apprehensions. an argument turning on the impossible or the incredible. and electricity. or by transplantation. “for example. The attributes of the divining-rod were fully credited. against whose doctrine they protested.” All of which undoubted wonders he accuses the age of desiring to throw on the devil's back — an unnecessary load certainly. Such were the obstacles arising from the vanity of philosophers and the imperfection of . a doubtful and twilight appearance to the various branches physical philosophy. amulets. and an opinion prevailed that the results now known to be the consequence their various laws of matter. in their own province. imaginary often mystical causes were assigned to them. that warts could be cured by sympathy — who thought. magnetism. It followed that. could not consistently use. in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. in the wilds of a partially discovered country.Natural magic — a phrase use to express those phenomena which could be produced knowledge of the properties of matter — had so much in it that was apparently uncombined and uncertain. This error had a doubly bad effect. the discovery of the philosopher's stone was daily hoped for. and it is therefore in vain to seek to account for them. while the opposers of the ordinary theory might have struck the 'deepest blows at the witch hypothesis by an appeal to common sense. both as degrading the immediate department in which it occurred. that the flag has its nourishment in marshy ground. whereas the fern loves a deep dryish soil. for instance. according to the satirist. could not be traced through combinations even by those who knew the effects them selves. The champions who. since such things do not exist. If. chiefly of a mystical character. in a word. until such phenomena were traced to their sources. with Bacon. they were themselves hampered by articles of philosophical belief which they must have been sensible contained nearly as deep draughts upon human credulity as were made by the Demonologists. and their remarkable and misconceived phenomena were appealed to as proof of the reasonableness of their expectations. assumes. for instance. it was observed that a flag and a fern never grew near each other. writing in detection of supposed witchcraft. The learned and sensible Dr. the effects of healing by the weapon-salve. the sympathetic powder. and as affording a protection for falsehood in other branches of science. to confute the believers in witches. with Napier.Webster. were obliged by the imperfect knowledge of the times to admit much that was mystical and inexplicable — those who opined. was imputed to some antipathy between these vegetables nor was it for some time resolved by the natural rule. was cumbered by a number of fanciful and incorrect opinions. that the art of chemistry was accounted mystical. that hidden treasures could be discovered by the mathematics — who salved the weapon instead of the wound. as a string of undeniable facts.

it must always be remembered. for the bodily harmes or good turncs supposed to be in his power. which was carried on with much anger and malevolence. edit.” opines for the severe opinion. If he turn his cloak or plaid. p. denounced against witchcraft. like those of the Middle Ages. to the general increase of knowledge and improvement of experimental philosophy. LETTER VII Penal Laws unpopular when rigidly exercised — Prosecution of Witches placed in the hand of Special Commissioners. or wraith. “Thus are the Fayries. 213. chap. p. otherwhiles to he loued as God. * Reginald Scot's “Discovery of Witchcraft. vii. edited by Octavius Gilchrist. which suspended the strength of their appeal to reason and common sense against the condemning of wretches to a cruel death on account of crimes which the nature of things rendered in modern times totally impossible We cannot doubt that they suffered considerably in the contest.their science. or double-ganger.” * Corbett's Poems. 15. and may probably find it to be his own fetch. * Corbett's Poems. but are uniformly found to disgust and offend at least the more sensible part of the public when the punishments become frequent and are relentlessly inflicted. he will obtain the full sight which lie desires. from difference of events ascribed to them.” — Jackson on Unbelief. * Dr. . under pretext of Witchcraft ——Florimond's Testimony concerning the Increase of Witches in his own Time — Bull of Pope Innocent VIII. * Reginald Scot's “Discovery of Witchcraft. in addition. seeking sometimes to be feared. In the next letter I shall take a view of the causes which helped to remove these impediments.” book. 1625. divided into good and bad. ii. * Friars limited to beg within a certain district. p.” book vii. A common instance is that of a person haunted with a resemblance whose face he cannot see. may be at first bailed with unanimous acquiescence and approbation. 178. chap. PENAL laws. Those against treason are no exception. to bear fruit so soon as the circumstances should be altered which at first impeded its growth. — Various Prosecutions in Foreign Countries under this severe Law — Prosecutions in Labourt by the Inquisitor De Lancre and his Colleague — Lycanthropy — Witches in Spain — In Sweden — and particularly those Apprehended at Mohra. when as it is but one and the same malignant fiend that meddles in both. “Wife of Bath's Tale. ad inquirendum — Prosecution for Witchcraft not frequent in the Elder Period of the Roman Empire — Nor in the Middle Ages — Some Cases took place. but the good seed which they had sown remained uncorrupted in the soil. Jackson. 191. however — The Maid of Orleans — The Duchess of Gloucester — Richard the Third's Charge against the Relations of the Queen Dowager — But Prosecutions against Sorcerers became more common in the end of the Fourteenth Century — Usually united with the Charge of Heresy — Monstrelet's Account of the Persecution against the Waldenses. in his ” Treatise on Unbelief.

and by a reaction natural to the human mind desired. might wring the truth out of all suspected persons. appears to have been so acted upon. and a capital punishment assigned to those who were supposed to have accomplished by sorcery the death of others. the various kingdoms adopted readily that part of the civil law. that the subtlety of the examinations. and a me sui generis. until the later period of the sixteenth century. “Surge tandem canrnifex !” It is accordingly remarkable. Commissions of Inquisition were especially empowered to weed out of the land the witches and those who had intercourse with familiar spirits. to make innovation in the state. In Catholic countries on the continent. by the fabrication of false miracles. in which probably the higher and better instructed members of the clerical order put as little faith at that time as they do . and how uniformly men loathed the gore after having swallowed it. under pretext of consulting with the spiritual world. and authors of sedition in the empire. in order that their posterity might neither have the will nor the mean to enter into similar excesses. or to have attempted. in different countries. or desertion of the Deity. which denounces sorcerers and witches as rebels to God. already mentioned. had not some of the inquisitors themselves been reporters of their own judicial exploits : the same hand which subscribed the sentence has recorded the execution. by false prophecies or otherwise. either in humanity or policy. or Italy where any report concerning witches or sorcery had alarmed the public mind . and those Commissioners. when the Papal system had attained its highest pitch of power and of corruption. and the severity of the tortures they inflicted. as a league with the Enemy of Man. as well as the heretics who promulgated or adhered to false doctrine. to prolong the blind veneration of the people. But no general denunciation against witchcraft itself. will prove the truth of this statement. until they rendered the province in which they exercised their jurisdiction a desert from which the inhabitants fled. France. as Mecænas to Augustus. The influence of the Churchmen was in early times secure. Special warrants were thus granted from time to time in behalf of such inquisitors. A short review of foreign countries. It would be impossible to give credit to the extent of this delusion. in prudence. than to vex others and weary themselves by secret investigations into dubious and mystical trespasses. or in any other respect fell under the ban of the Church. But being considered as obnoxious equally to the canon and civil law. glutted the public with seas of innocent blood. before we come to notice the British Islands and their Colonies. proud of the trust reposed in them. In the earlier period of the Church of Rome witchcraft is frequently alluded to.Each reflecting government will do well to shorten that melancholy reign of terror which perhaps must necessarily follow on the discovery of a plot or the defeat of an insurrection. thought it becoming to use the utmost exertions on their part. to take away or restrict those laws which had been the source of carnage. as fear is always cruel and credulous. how often at some particular period of their history there occurred an epidemic of terror of witches. to wait till the voice of the nation calls to them. authorizing them to visit those provinces of Germany. They ought not. which. and they rather endeavoured.

and hanging on the branches chaplets and garlands of flowers. The English vulgar regarded her as a sorceress — the French as an inspired heroine. called the Maid of Orleans. and perhaps amiable enthusiast. The mean recurrence to such a charge against such a person had no more success than it deserved. and which it was at least needless to dismantle. as Mr. The story of the celebrated Jeanne d'Arc. a huge oak-tree. doubtless. Here she was stated to have repaired during the hours of divine service. To the same cause. took away her life in order to stigmatize her memory with sorcery and to destroy the reputation she had acquired among the French. The Duchess was condemned to do penance. were in this hostile charge against her described as enchanted implements. was not. gathered for the purpose. The death of the innocent. Henry VI. respected for the cures which it had wrought. It is well known that this unfortunate female fell into the hands of the English. we may impute the trial of the Duchess of Gloucester. when the ill-starred Jeanne fell into his hands. about the same period. and inspired them with the hope of once more freeing their country. It is true that this policy was not uniformly observed. called the Fated or Fairy Oak of Bourlemont. a frontier fortress which they wrested from the enemy. and thereafter banished to the Isle of Man. Her indictment accused her of having frequented an ancient oak-tree. the fathers of the Roman Church were in policy reluctant to abandon such impressive spots. Thus the Church secured possession of many beautiful pieces of scenery. wife of the good Duke Humphrey. but a cruel instance of wicked policy mingled with national jealousy and hatred. by assigning the virtues of the spring or the beauty of the tree to the guardianship of some saint. accused of consulting witches concerning the mode of compassing the death of her husband's nephew. we are sorry to say. which was in that case turned to the prejudice of the poor woman who observed it. The charmed sword and blessed banner. highminded. after having. revived the drooping courage of the French. a sacrifice to a superstitious fear of witchcraft. and a fountain arising under it. Whitfield is said to have grudged to the devil the monopoly of all the fine tunes. which beauty of situation had recommended to traditional respect. as it were. while the wise on both sides considered her as neither the one nor the other. or to represent them as exclusively the rendezvous of witches or of evil spirits. On the contrary. Did there remain a mineral fountain.now. by her courage and enthusiasm manifested on many important occasions. The Duke of Bedford. but a tool used by the celebrated Dunois to play the part which he assigned her. the obsolete idolatry which in ancient times had been rendered on the same spot to the Genius Loci . reviving. which she had represented as signs of her celestial mission. designed by the fiends and fairies whom she worshipped to accomplish her temporary success. or venerated mount. while several of her accomplices died in prison or were executed. skipping. dancing. although Jeanne was condemned both by the Parliament of Bordeaux and the University of Paris. around the tree and fountain. if it could be conveniently garrisoned and defended. they acquired. for the defence of their own doctrine. preserves the memory of such a custom. and making gestures. But in this instance also the alleged .

according to their account. The more severe enquiries and frequent punishments by which the judges endeavoured to check the progress of this impious practice seem to have increased the disease. and other adherents of the Earl of Richmond. and how a meeting of inoffensive Protestants could be cunningly identified with a Sabbath of hags and fiends.witchcraft was only the ostensible cause of a procedure which had its real source in the deep hatred between the Duke of Gloucester and Cardinal Beaufort. taking a different direction in different countries. in laying down rules for the judicial prosecuting of witches. as indeed it has been always remarked that those morbid affections of mind which depend on the imagination are sure to become More common in proportion as public attention is fastened on stories connected with their display. express their regret that the crime was growing more frequent than in any former age. as the accusation of witchcraft thus afforded to tyranny or policy the ready means of assailing persons whom it might not have been possible to convict of any other crime. afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury. which. had in almost all of them stirred up a sceptical dissatisfaction with the dogmas of the Church — such views being rendered more credible to the poorer classes through the corruption of manners among the clergy too many of whom wealth and ease had caused to neglect that course of morality which best recommends religious doctrine. In almost every nation in Europe there lurked in the crowded cities. or the wild solitude of the country. The Jesuit Delrio alleges several reasons for the affinity which he considers as existing between the Protestant and the sorcerer. The Romanists became extremely desirous to combine the doctrine of the heretics with witchcraft. The same pretext was used by Richard III. the aspersion itself was gradually considered with increase of terror as spreading wider and becoming more contagious. . thus fortifying the kingdom of Satan against that of the Church. when he brought the charge of sorcery against the Queen Dowager. and yet again was by that unscrupulous prince directed against Morton. as a matter of course.* A remarkable passage in Monstrelet puts in a clear view the point aimed. at by the Catholics in thus confusing and blending the doctrines of heresy and the practice of witchcraft. In the same century schisms arising from different causes greatly alarmed the Church of Rome. abounded especially where the Protestants were most numerous. But in the meanwhile. Jane Shore. The accusation in both cases was only chosen as a charge easily made and difficult to be eluded or repelled. upon those who dissented from the Catholic standard of faith. sects who agreed chiefly in their animosity to the supremacy of Rome and their desire to cast off her domination. So early as the year 1398 the University of Paris. The Waldenses and Albigenses were parties existing in great numbers through the south of France. he accuses the former of embracing the opinion of Wierus and other defenders of the devil (as he calls all who oppose his own opinions concerning witchcraft). The universal spirit of enquiry which was now afloat. and the queen's kinsmen . the scrupled not to throw the charge of sorcery. and. his half-brother. the bitterness increasing.

” Monstrelet winds up this shocking narrative by informing us “that it ought not to be concealed that the whole accusation was a stratagem of wicked men for their own covetous purposes. repaired to some solitary spot. informing in how he would be obeyed. prelates. who exacted that such of them as. and said. Some there were. but real persecution. whose suspicions are distinctly spoken out. while they constrained them by torture to impeach the persons to whom they belonged. through a terrible and melancholy chance. Several of those who had been thus informed against were arrested. an opinion called. in similar terms with Monstrelet. by an arret dated 20th May. it is said. besides. under cloud of night. but they. amid woods and deserts. though he allows the conduct of the judges to have been most odious. of certain persons. having heard the affair by appeal. had to give large sums to the judges. too.” Delrio himself confesses that Franciscus Balduinus give an account of the pretended punishment. “never free from the most wretched excess of fascination . distributed a very little money and a plentiful meal. who. Many even of those also confessed being persuaded to take that course by the interrogators.“In this year (1459). and governors of bailliages and ties. arose. being such names as the examinators had suggested to the persons examined. he cannot prevail on himself to acquit the parties charged by such interested accusers with horrors which should hardly have been found proved even upon . fame. and fortune of wealth persons. This sect consisted. that they had seen and recognised in their nocturnal assembly many persons rank.” continues Monstrelet. After this those of mean condition were executed and inhumanly burnt. and in order. The Jesuit Delrio quote the passage. “several creditable persons of the town of Arras were seized and imprisoned along with some foolish men and persons of little consequence. had declared the sentence illegal and the judges iniquitous. and adds that the Parliament of Paris. by the power of the devil. who suffered with marvellous patience and constancy the torments inflicted on them.” he says. where the devil appeared before them in a human form — save that his visage is never perfectly visible to them — read to the assembly a book of his ordinances. who promised them indemnity for life and fortune. “On accusations of access to such acts of madness.” and finally. after which each one of the party was conveyed home to her or his own habitation. were still able to move. and tortured for so long a time that they also were obliged to confess what was charged against them. by these false accusations and forced confessions. of a truth. These were so horribly tortured that some of them admitted the truth of the whole accusations. but adheres with lingering reluctance to the of whom the truth of the accusation. to avoid the punishment and the shame attending it. I know not why. thrown into prison. which was concluded by a scene of general profligacy. seigneurs. the Religion of Vaudoisie. notwithstanding their mishandling. to destroy the life. “The Waldenses (of whom the Albigenses are a species) were. while the richer and more powerful of the accused ransomed themselves by sums of money. should banish themselves from that part of the country. of these Waldenses. 1491. in the town of Arras and county of Artois. and would confess nothing imputed to their charge . both men and women.

corresponds with the historical notices of repeated persecutions upon this dreadful charge of sorcery.” For which reasons the inquisitors were armed with the apostolic power. and called upon to “convict. and punish. There are not judges enough to try them. imprison. that they blight the marriage-bed. who had just then obtained his doctor's degree in civil law. Alciatus states that an inquisitor. as strongly illustrative of the condition to which the country was reduced. or in which we do not return to our homes discountenanced and terrified at the horrible contents of the confessions which it has been our duty to hear. rang the tocsin against this formidable crime. burnt an hundred sorcerers in Piedmont. And the devil is accounted so good a master that we cannot commit so great a number of his laves to the flames but what there shall arise from their ashes a number sufficient to supply their place. “ that numbers of both sexes do not avoid to have intercourse with the infernal fiends. after which jurisdiction was deferred to the archbishop. according to the civilian's opinion. Dreadful were the consequences of this bull all over the Continent. and calculated to make an impression the very reverse probably of that which the writer would have desired:“All those who have afforded us some signs of the approach of Antichrist agree that the increase of sorcery and witchcraft is to distinguish the melancholy period of his advent. and set forth in the most dismal colours the guilt. destroy the births of women. the county of Burlia. and France . especially in Italy.” and so forth. In the ensuing years he continued the prosecution with such unremitting zeal that many fled from the country. the grapes of the vineyard. and was ever age so afflicted with them as ours? The seats destined for criminals before our judicatories are blackened with persons accused of this guilt. for a course of hellebore than for the stake. He appeals on this occasion to Florimond's work on Antichrist. No day passes that we do not render our tribunals bloody by the dooms which we pronounce. Our dungeons are gorged with them. A number of unfortunate wretches were brought for judgment.” says the bull. About 1485 Cumanus burnt as witches forty-one poor women in one year in. others of having merely joined the choral dances around the witches' tree of rendezvous Several of their husbands and . while it stimulated the inquisitors to the unsparing discharge of their duty in searching out and punishing the guilty. by which it appears that the most active and unsparing inquisition was taking place. fitter. Germany. and that by their sorceries they afflict both man and beast. they blast the corn on the ground. the fruits of the trees. A bull of Pope Innocent VIII. and the people arose and drove him out of the country. That prelate consulted Alciatus himself. Some were accuse of having dishonoured the crucifix and denied their salvation others of having absconded to keep the Devil's Sabbath. the grass and herbs of the field.”* This last statement. The introduction of that work deserves to be quoted. in spite of bolts and bars. and persevered in his inquiries till human patience was exhausted. about the same period. “It is come to our ears. and the increase of cattle .the most distinct evidence. to which he was afterwards an honour.

reported to have been committed in Labourt and its neighbourhood. boasts that he put to death 900 people in fifteen years. in Italy. The fiend lost much credit by his failure on this occasion. and multitudes were burnt amid that gay and lively people. that the profound stupor “had something of Paradise in it. Pierre de Lancre. The judges took care that the fiend seldom obtained any advantage in the matter by refusing their victims.” from which we may suppose many suffered for heresy. In the beginning of the next century the persecution of witches broke out in France with a fury which was hardly conceivable. an the minds of the country became at length composed. and by mere force. Notwithstanding this. so that if. so that whole towns were on the point of becoming desolate. the wretches should fall into a doze. suffered death.000 persons were put to death in one year at Como. Before the formidable . or rather burnt. royal councillor in the Parliament of Bordeaux. About 1515. His story assumes the form of a narrative of a direct war between Satan on the one side and the Royal Commissioners on the other. 1. by fair means or foul. “because. when they were recalled from it to the question. with whom the President Espaignel was joined in a commission to enquire into certain acts of sorcery. at the foot of the Pyrenees. Forty-eight witches were burnt at Ravensburgh within four years.” says Councillor de Lancre. the country four leagues around Constance was laid waste by lightning and tempest. they declared. in all probability. Satan then proceeded.” In Lorraine the learned inquisitor. A few extracts from the preface will best evince the state of mind in which he proceeded to the discharge of his commission.” At first. as Hutchison reports.relatives swore that they we in bed and asleep during these pretended excursions Alciatus recommended gentle and temperate measures. being gilded. on the authority of Mengho. with something like a visible obstruction in their throat. in the way of direct defiance. by intermission of the torture. “nothing is so calculated to strike terror into the fiend and his dominions as a commission with such plenary powers. to stop the mouth of the accused openly. and two women being. Remigius. Satan endeavoured to supply his vassals who were brought before the judges with strength to support the examinations. “with the immediate presence of the devil. in spite of him. 1619. it rather derived its charms from the natural comparison between the insensibility of exhaustion and the previous agony of acute torture. and about 100 every year after for several years. to put the devil to shame.* In 1488. the author of the “Malleus Malleficarum. As many were banished from that country. with self-complaisance. 500 persons were executed at Geneva. In 1524." though. out the month of May. in most cases.” said the judge. some of the accused found means. made to confess themselves guilty as the cause of the devastation. Some notion of the extreme prejudice of their judges may be drawn from the words of one of the inquisitors themselves. any interval of rest or sleep. to confess and be hanged. under the character of “Protestant witches.

Commissioners arrived. and Satan answered each of them in a tone which resembled the voice of the lamented parent almost as successfully as Monsieur Alexandre could have done. and conceited spirit. and look how you have kept your word with us! They have been burnt. where the men are all fishers and the women smoke tobacco and wear short petticoats. and in the midst of his festival of the Sabbath the children and relations of the witches who had suffered not sticking to say to him. We regret to say that Satan was unable to execute either of these laudable resolutions. and that if their children would call on them they would receive an answer. a sterile. and encouraged the mutinous o walk through them. To a person who. and he might with as much prudence have turned a ravenous wolf upon an undefended flock. When he took courage again to face his parliament. and in whom no one reposed confidence. sending as his representative an imp of subordinate account. and are a heap of ashes. Proceeding to a yet more close attack. in this presumptuous. trifling. it was the pleasure of the most Christian Monarch to consign the most absolute power which could be exercised on these poor people. has composed a quarto volume full of the greatest absurdities and grossest obscenities ever impressed on paper. he stoutly affirmed that their parents. which was the more easy as few of them could speak the Basque language. were safe in a foreign country. and yet had so little power in the matter that he could only express his resentment by threats that lie would hang Messieurs D'Amon and D'Urtubbe. and the witches were directed to procure such victims accordingly. whereas he was now insulted publicly by his own vassals. as they were his natural prey. gentlemen who had solicited and promoted the issuing of the Commission. and a border country. assuring them that the judicial pile was as frigid and inoffensive as those which he exhibited to them. he had held his cour plénière before the gates of Bourdeaux. The devil was much offended at such an affront. which he had gained with costs. of which he is well known to be the father. The chief reason seems to be that it is a mountainous. he abandoned for three or four sittings his attendance on the Sabbaths. on the eve of one of the Fiend's Sabbaths. I have no time to detail the ingenious method by which the learned Councillor de Lancre explains why the district of Labourt should be particularly exposed to the pest of sorcery. The priest. taking his refuge in lies.” To appease this mutiny Satan had two evasions He produced illusory fires. After this grand fiction he confined himself to the petty vengeance of impeding the access of confessors to the condemned. and would also burn the Commissioners themselves in their own fire. who seemed to have suffered. placed the gibbet on which they executed their victims just on the spot where Satan's gilded chair was usually stationed. the Commissioners. They made the invocation accordingly. and in the square of the palace of Galienne. Again. and that six score of infant children were to be delivered up to him in name of damages. the Arch-fiend covered his defection by assuring them that he had been engaged in a lawsuit with the Deity. as well as the ignorant . “Out upon you ! Your promise was that our mothers who were prisoners should not die. of whom the animal was the natural enemy. Ashamed of his excuses.

and throttled the dogs which stood in their defence. made no impression in favour of the sorcerers of Labourt. a melancholy state of mind. slaying and wasting. which he supposed the Lord of the Forest himself. whether with or without the enchanted hide of a wolf. contradicted each other at every turn respecting the description of the Domdaniel in which they pretended to have been assembled. The more incredulous reasoners would not allow of a real transformation. in which the patient imagined that he committed the ravages of which he was accused. said the one party. In Spain. till the edict of Louis XIV. of the Lord of the Forest — so he called his superior — who was judged to be the devil. ravaged the flocks. who gave himself out for a servant. which saved the life and fame of Susannah. The idea. Naudé. we may believe.” and the discrepancy of evidence. more idle in other countries of Europe.* While the spirit of superstition was working such horrors in France. with better taste. after which the crime itself was heard of no more. and in that capacity. it was not. Among other gross transgressions of the most ordinary rules. fell under the suspicion of this fell Commission. that the accused were brought to trial to the number of forty in one day — with what chance of escape. resembling one of those mutilated trunks of trees found in ancient forests. transformed into the likeness and performed the usual functions of a wolf. some. in what their judges called confessions. if be did not come upon this signal. Many similar scenes occurred in France. some a man disfigured and twisted. and De Lancre writes. on the one hand. a mere youth. he rushed out and made havoc among the flocks. Such was the general persecution under Messieurs Espiagnel and De Lancre. particularly. and contended that lycanthropy only subsisted as a woful species of disease. after the manner of the animal. when the judges were blinded with prejudice. or yeoman pricker. like the animal whom he represented. being seized with a species of fury. and is the subject of great debate between Wier. If either had not seen the other. beheld a huge indistinct form. was that a human being had the power. he proceeded to bury it the best way he could. a superstition which was chiefly current in France. he said. as suffering torture. All spoke to a sort of gilded throne. with much complacency. was tried at Besançon. it may be remarked that the accused. Such a person. by sorcery. but some saw a hideous wild he-goat seated there. long the residence . These wolves. the understanding of the reader may easily anticipate. by his master's power. he howled. Instances occur in De Lancre's book of the trial and condemnation of persons accused of the crime of 1ycanthropy.peasant. broken with occasional fits of insanity. and was attended in his course by one larger. He was. and the fiend who presided there. which in some cases was supposed to aid the metamorphosis. and could only hear the evidence and the defence through the medium of an interpreter. and their demonological adversaries on the other. far more than he could devour. discharging all future prosecutions for witchcraft. but was known in other countries. to call his comrade to his share of the prey. of transforming himself into the shape of a wolf. Scot. But De Lancre was no “Daniel come to judgment.

It was. as is experienced by all who have the least acquaintance with early youth. and their labours cost as much blood on accusations of witchcraft and magic as for heresy and relapse. which. the former out of pride. on account of the idle falsehoods propagated by a crew of lying children. or at least to natural magic. algebra. under the usual age of their being admitted to give evidence. being translated into English by a respectable clergyman. spells and talismans. were supposed to be allied to necromancy. the desire to escape from an unpleasing task. learn to despise and avoid falsehood .” is by nothing proved so strongly as by the imperfect sense displayed by children of the sanctity of moral truth. have by their art and perseverance made shipwreck of men's lives. during the subsistence of the Moorish kingdoms in Spain. an account of which. from spite or in mere. Nor is this all: the temptation of attracting attention. will at any time overcome the sentiment of truth. The melancholy truth that “the human heart is deceitful above all things. derived from the days o chivalry. and a specimen of it was exhibited in the sober and rational country of Sweden about the middle of last century. the first words they stammer forth are a falsehood to excuse it. the other. Children. and . a people putting deep faith in all the day-dreams of witchcraft. so weak is it within them. the business of the Inquisition to purify whatever such pursuits had left of suspicious Catholicism. the ardent and devotional temper of the old Christians dictated a severe research after sorcerers as well as heretics. as they advance in years. of magic. If they are charged with fault while they can hardly speak. who in this case were both actors and witnesses. and relapsed Jews or Mahommedans. from a surprisingly early period. and committing great cruelty and injustice. Where a number of them are concerned in the same mischief. nor are such acolytes found to evade justice with less dexterity than the more advanced rogues. find means of rendering children useful in their mystery . and desperately wicked. Both the gentlemen and the mass of the people. gaiety of spirit. that the character of a liar is a deadly stain on their honour. Doctor Horneck. a school was supposed to be kept open in Toboso 'for the study. altogether mistaken by the ignorant and vulgar. excited general surprise how a whole people could be imposed upon to the degree of shedding much blood.” But these are acquired habits of thinking. and imperfectly understood even by those who studied them.of the Moors. from some general reflection upon the necessity of preserving a character for integrity in the course of life. and it is terrible to see how often the little impostors. Hence thieves and housebreakers. it is said. and a sense of the truth of the common adage. of course. The child has no natural love of truth. and other sciences. or accomplish a holiday. In former times. there is something resembling virtue in the fidelity with which the common secret is preserved. good and evil genii. Even the colder nations of Europe were subject to the same epidemic terror for witchcraft. that “honesty is the best policy. supported exclusively by the evidence of children (the confessions under torture excepted). were necessarily often examined in witch trials . But it would be hard to discover a case which. but more likely of chemistry. the pleasure of enjoying importance. and from a remaining feeling.

Their confession ran thus: — They were taught by the witches to go to a cross way. besides. that their strength or spirit only travelled with the fiend. The scene was the Swedish village of Mohra. a red beard. the Brockenberg. Very few adopted this last hypothesis. Royal Commissioners were sent down. and with certain ceremonies to invoke the devil by the name of Antecessor. lashed weekly at the church doors for a whole year. however. He set each child on some beast of his providing. nevertheless. renowned as witches. reminding the judges that the province had been clear of witches since the burning of some on a former occasion. The complaints of the common people. as it is called. with linen of various colours wrapt round it. and could not be awakened out of a deep sleep. in the province of Elfland. The children. though they shook them for the purpose of awakening them. so many as threescore and ten witches and sorcerers being seized in the village of Mohra. to. The delusion had come to a great height ere it reached the ears of government. with a grey coat. red and blue stockings. and that their body remained behind. which district had probably its name from some remnant of ancient superstition. and anointed them with a certain unguent composed of the scrapings of altars and the filings of church clocks. and hearts hardened against every degree of compassion to the accused. a mountain infamous for being the common scene of witches' meetings.obviously existing only in the young witnesses' own imagination. where most of them were executed. as that which occurred in Sweden. the punishment of these agents of hell. that is. or given cause to so extensive and fatal a delusion. and were. and hearing the extraordinary story which the former insisted upon maintaining. meaning. They demanded. So strong was. but chiefly as a mad Merry-Andrew. Some supposed. therefore. Twenty of the youngest were condemned to the same discipline for three days only. with ears open to receive the incredibilities with which they were to be crammed. Most of the children considered their journey to be corporeal and actual. had drawn several hundred children of all classes under the devil's authority. the number of three hundred. though the parents unanimously bore witness that the bodies of the children remained in bed. There is here a discrepancy of evidence which in another court would have cast the whole. begging him to carry them off to Blockula. Fifteen of the children were also led to death. men well fitted for the duty entrusted to them . The process seems to have consisted in confronting the children with the witches. as was the general procedure. and to which Goethe represents the spirit Mephistopheles as conducting his pupil Faustus. The accused were numerous. perhaps. were that a number of persons. and were sent to Faluna. The devil courteously appeared at the call of the children in various forms. has been attended with such serious consequences. when. a high-crowned hat. and garters of peculiar length. the belief of . in the Hartz forest. backed by some persons of better condition. threeand-twenty confessed their crimes. Six-and-thirty of those who were young were forced to run the gauntlet. were found more or less perfect in a tale as full of impossible absurdities as ever was told around a nursery fire.

“out of so great a multitude as were accused. The learned translator candidly allows. as truth. in convincing his mother that the child had not been transported to Blockula during the very night he held him in his embrace.nurses and mothers in their actual transportation. might think they were bewitched or ready to be carried away by imps. but with little success. The plan of the devil's palace consisted of one large banqueting apartment and several withdrawing-rooms. which was the object of their journey. and executed. These confessions being delivered before the accused witches. as he seems ready to grant. condemned. mentioned in the preface. and the despairing wretches confirmed what the children said. and produced an offspring of toads and serpents. the reverend gentleman only felt a . For if it was possible that some of these unfortunate persons fell a sacrifice to the malice of their neighbours or the prejudices of witnesses. indeed. they at first stoutly denied them. being broth made of coleworts and bacon. I will readily admit. is it not more reasonable to believe that the whole of the accused were convicted on similar grounds. It is worth mentioning that the devil. and was much lamented at Blockula — but he soon revived again. how the children bewitched fel into fits and strange unusual postures. who had resolved he would watch his son the whole night and see what hag or fiend would take him from his arms. Some attempts these witches had made to harm individuals on middle earth. who were married together. on which we cafe not to be particular. attempted to strike a nail. desirous of enjoying his own reputation among his subjects. there might be some who suffered unjustly.” he continues. but as the skull was of unusual solidity. One old sorceress. than to allow. that a sensible clergyman. if they saw their children any way disordered. spread abroad in the kingdom. with bread and butter. and owed their death more to the malice of their enemies than to their skill in the black art. and milk and cheese. “but that when the news of these transactions and accounts. and acquiesced in the horrors imputed to them. was a house having a fine gate painted with divers colours. Their food was homely enough. which. had the utmost difficulty. the slightest part of the gross and vulgar impossibilities upon which alone their execution can be justified? The Blockula. that the witches had sons and daughters by the fiends. notwithstanding. followed out. If human beings had been employed they were left slumbering against the wall of the house. Nor will I deny. pretended at one time to be dead. with a paddock. given her by the devil for that purpose. in which they turned the beasts to graze which had brought them to such scenes of revelry. The same acts of wickedness and profligacy were committed at Blockula which are usually supposed to take place upon the devil's Sabbath elsewhere. They said the practice of carrying off children had been enlarged very lately (which shows the whole rumours to have arisen recently). with many other extravagant circumstances. would have deprived the world of the benefit of his translation. but there was this particular.” * The learned gentleman here stops short in a train of reasoning. as the mode of elongating a goat's back by means of a spit. some fearful and credulous people. At last some of them burst into tears. into the head of the minister of Elfland .

and that the desire to be as much distinguished as their comrade had stimulated the bolder and more acute of his companions to the like falsehoods. burned as fiercely. and at this expense of blood was extinguished a flame that arose as suddenly. either from fear of punishment or the force of dreaming over at night the horrors which were dinned into their ears all day. as it was considered. If we could ever learn the true explanation of this story. received praise and encouragement. or only the effects of strong imagination. which some of them wished to improve upon. that Heaven would be pleased to restrain the powers of the devil. perhaps. The total number who lost their lives on this singular occasion was fourscore and four persons. It is worth while also to observe.headache from her efforts. impenitent. Those who were ingenuous. to be burnt and executed on such pregnant evidence as was brought before them. but the witches went in. who wished to apologise to his parents for lying an hour longer in the morning by alleging he had been at Blockula on the preceding night. and told them that these doings should not last long. Ambassador from the Court of Sweden to the Court of England in 1672. in their confessions. The Commissioners returned to Court with the high approbation of all concerned. Antony Horneck. Envoy Extraordinary of the same power. “had caused divers men. were sure to bear the harder share of the punishment which was addressed to all. whilst those of weaker minds assented. and.” The translator refers to the evidence of Baron Sparr. and that the devil had amused them with the vision of a burning pit. and shows the whole tale to be the fiction of the children's imagination. women. But whether the actions confessed and proved against them were real. which used to forbid them what the devil bid them do. and those who denied or were silent. as it was termed. and that of Baron Lyonberg. “ Some of the children talked much of a white angel. excusing themselves by alleging that their witchcraft had left them. both of whom attest the confession and execution of the witches.” This additional evidence speaks for itself. and when they came to Blockula he pulled the children back. and afterwards translated out of High Dutch into English by Dr. And (they added) this better being would place himself sometimes at the door betwixt the witches and the children.” attached to Glanville's “Sadducismus Triumphatus. and deliver the poor creatures who hitherto had groaned under it. prayers were ordered through the churches weekly. as any portent of the kind within the annals of superstition. having a hand thrust out of it. . and decayed as rapidly. we should probably find that the cry was led by some clever mischievous boy. that the smarter children began to improve their evidence and add touches to the general picture of Blockula. They could not be persuaded to exhibit any of their tricks before the Commissioners.” he said. as well as the innocent children. “His judges and commissioners. who were carried off by hundreds at once. The King of Sweden himself answered the express inquiries of the Duke of Holstein with marked reserve. he was not as yet able to determine” — a sufficient reason. and children. including fifteen children . The reader may consult “An Account of what happened in the Kingdom of Sweden in the years 1669 and 1670.

de Strigilibus.” cap. * Translator's preface to Horneck's ” Account of what happened in the Kingdom of Sweden. I — Canon passed by the Convocation against Possession — Case of Mr. and where it is in a high degree more interesting to our present purpose. by the Catholics . &c. . 820. I Jac. * Delrio. n. and the belief in the Crime becomes forgotten — Witch Trials in New England — Dame Glover's Trial — Affliction of the Parvises. the pretended Witchfinder. 22. 5. chap. in which some Church of England Clergymen insisted on the Prosecution — Hutchison's Rebuke to them — James the First's Opinion of Witchcraft — His celebrated Statute. by the Calvinists . and the execution of the Family of Samuel — That of Jane Wenham. Fairfax's Children — Lancashire Witches in 1613 — Another Discovery in 1634 — Webster's Account of the manner in which the Imposture was managed — Superiority of the Calvinists is followed by a severe Prosecution of Witches — Executions in Suffolk. * Florimond. 7. Hutchinson quotes “H. Dr. the cause of these Cruelties — His Brutal Practices — His Letter — Execution of Mr.” lib. The Effects of the Witch Superstition are to be traced in the Laws of a Kingdom — Usually punished in England as a Crime connected with Politics — Attempt at Murder for Witchcraft not in itself Capital — Trials of Persons of Rank for Witchcraft. second. by the Church of England and Lutherans — Impostures unwarily countenanced by individual Catholic Priests. Juris. and some cases upon it — Case of Dugdale — Case of the Witches of Warbois. “Concerning the Antichrist. de Spina. “De Magia. * Alciat. * The reader may sup full on such wild horrors in the causes célèbres .” 105. viii.” See the Preface.” See appendix to Glanville's work. We must now turn our eyes to Britain. quoted by Delrio. 161. Lowis — Hopkins Punished — Restoration of Charles — Trial of Coxe — Of Dunny and Callendar before Lord Hales — Royal Society and Progress of Knowledge — Somersetshire Witches — Opinions of the Populace — A Woman Swum for Witchcraft at Oakly — Murder at Tring — Act against Witchcraft abolished. and also by some Puritanic Clergymen — Statute of 1562. and frightful Increase of the Prosecutions — Suddenly put a stop to — The Penitence of those concerned in them. — How Witchcraft was regarded by the three Leading Sects of Religion in the Sixteenth Century. LETTER VIII. “De Magia.why punishment should have been at least deferred by the interposition of the royal authority. connected with State Crimes — Statutes of Henry VIII. first. “Parerg. to a dreadful extent — Hopkins. Bart.” p. in which our knowledge as to such events is necessarily more extensive. third. Institor.

wave his hat and cry Buzz! accordingly. depend chiefly on the instances which history contains of the laws and prosecutions against witchcraft. with its accompanying circumstances. which is the essence of high treason. And it may be remarked that the inquiry into the date of the King's life bears a close affinity with the desiring or compassing the death of the Sovereign. Thus the supposed paction between a witch and the demon was perhaps deemed in itself to have terrors enough to prevent its becoming an ordinary crime. But to attempt or execute bodily harm to others through means of evil spirits. than that cowards and children go out more seldom at night. the consulting soothsayers. be punishable. that we have the best chance of obtaining an accurate view of our subject. But in cases of witchcraft we have before us the recorded evidence upon which judge and jury acted. in like manner. It is. the proof is necessarily transient and doubtful. But when the alarm of witchcraft arises. or. Other superstitions arose and decayed. while the reports of ghosts and fairies are peculiarly current. no doubt. unless they were connected with something which would have been of itself a capital crime. therefore. were dreaded or despised. We would not. would. The existence of witchcraft was. by the black art. Upon such charges repeated trials took place in the courts of the English. The destruction or abstraction of goods by the like instruments. and condemnations were pronounced. and can form an opinion with some degree of certainty of the grounds. in times such as we are speaking of. in a word. and the obtaining and circulating pretended prophecies to the unsettlement o the State and the endangering of the King's title. because. the promulgation of such a prediction has. and was not. depending upon the inaccurate testimony of vague report and of doting tradition. where the connexion between the resort to sorcerers and the design to perpetrate a felony could be clearly proved. received and credited in England. But after the fourteenth century the practices which fell under such a description were thought unworthy of any peculiar animadversion. was actionable at common law as much as if the party accused had done the same harm with an arrow or pistol-shot. A fortiori . supposing the charge proved. with sufficient justice. therefore. or the like. But a false prophecy of the King's death is not to be dealt with exactly on the usual principle. and originally punished accordingly. real or fanciful. without greater embarrassment. however idle in itself. as in every other country. and records in the annals of jurisprudence their trials and the causes alleged in vindication of their execution.OUR account of Demonology in England must naturally. on which they acquitted or condemned. Superstition dips her hand in the blood of the persons accused. be disposed to go the length of so high an authority as Selden. no doubt. who pronounces (in his “Table-Talk") that if a man heartily believed that lie could take the life of another by waving his hat three times and crying Buzz ! and should. visited with any statutory penalty. familiar spirits. he ought to be executed as a murderer. in tracing this part of Demonology. as in the countries on the Continent. under this fixed opinion. is yet a higher degree of guilt. indeed. a . Respecting other fantastic allegations. in the provinces in which they have a temporary currency. by whatever means it had been either essayed or accomplished.

There are instances of individuals tried and convicted as impostors and cheats. a formal statute against sorcery. afterwards the Third. the legislature probably regarded those who might be brought to trial as impostors rather than wizards. than to the fact of using it. in Henry the Sixth's reign. In the same reign. was actually passed. witchcraft. to the prejudice of those in authority. and that of the Queen Dowager's kinsmen. and who acknowledged themselves such before the court and people. The former enactment was certainly made to ease the suspicious and wayward fears of the tetchy King Henry. of maintaining every doctrine which her rulers had adopted in dark ages. and at the same time against breaking and destroying crosses. owing much to his having listened to the predictions of one Friar Hopkins. the Maid of Kent. We have already mentioned the instance of the Duchess of Gloucester. suffered for the charge of trafficking with witches. witchcraft. in 1562. and confessed her fraud upon the scaffold. or any like craft. perhaps as placing an undue restraint on the zeal of good Protestants against idolatry. But it is here proper to make a pause for the purpose of enquiring in what manner the religious disputes which occupied all Europe about this time influenced the proceedings of the rival sects in relation to Demonology. and were unsuited to the warfare of a more enlightened age.. the other against the act of conjuration. The enactment against breaking crosses was obviously designed to check the ravages of the Reformers. but in their articles of visitation the prelates directed enquiry to be made after those who should use enchantments. as penal in itself. But these cases rather relate to the purpose for which the sorcery was employed. In 1521. but as the penalty was limited to the pillory for the first transgression. The prohibition against witchcraft might be also dictated by the king's jealous doubts of hazard to the succession. in the Protectorate of Richard. who would . but this pertinacity at length made her citadel too large to be defended at every point by a garrison whom prudence would have required to abandon positions which had been taken in times of darkness.” and this rendered it impossible to comply with the more wise and moderate of her own party. About seven years after this. Two remarkable statutes were passed in the Year 1541. “Vestigia nulla retrorsum. She suffered with seven persons who had managed her fits for the support of the Catholic religion. the Duke of Buckingham was beheaded. sorcery. invented by the devil. and some of great celebrity. Many persons. one against false prophecies. The sacred motto of the Vatican was. This latter statute was abrogated in the first year of Edward VI. was put to death as a cheat. who in England as well as elsewhere desired to sweep away Popery with the besom of destruction. and sorcery. At length.strong tendency to work its completion. The Papal Church had long reigned by the proud and absolute humour which she had assumed. who had been esteemed a prophetess. Lord Hungerford was beheaded for consulting certain soothsayers concerning the length of Henry the Eighth's life.

in short. Tendered them independent of the necessity of courting their flocks by any means save regular discharge of their duty. algebra. were gradually thrown on the support of the people. as we have seen. They suffered spells to be manufactured. harshness and severity. there could be no exorcism-fees — and. if they have usually the merit of being.otherwise have desired to make liberal concessions to the Protestants. they held it almost essential to be in all things diametrically opposite to the Catholic form and faith. as in themselves admirable. and at any rate too greatly venerated by the people to be changed merely for opposition's sake. they might be unwilling to make laws by which their own enquiries in the mathematics. Betwixt these extremes the Churchmen of England endeavoured to steer a middle course retaining a portion of the ritual and forms of Rome. Insensibly they became occupied with the ideas and tenets natural to the common people. gave rise to various results in the countries where they were severally received. with views of ambition as ample as the station of a churchman ought to command. and other pursuits vulgarly supposed to approach the confines of magic art. The more selfish part of the priesthood might think that a general belief in the existence of witches should be permitted to remain. a formidable schism in the Christian world. chemistry. was unwilling. as its clerical discipline was settled on a democratic basis. are not the less often adopted with credulity and precipitation. and as the countries which adopted that form of government were chiefly poor. the preachers having lost the Tank and opulence enjoyed by the Roman Church. according to her belief. as a source both of power and of revenue — that if there were no possessions. — in a word. their belief in and persecution of such crimes as witchcraft and sorcery were necessarily modelled upon the peculiar tenets which each system professed. The learned men at the head of the establishment might safely despise the attempt at those hidden arts as impossible. Their comparatively undilapidated revenue. and thus prevent. The Church of Rome. in its commencement. and carried into effect with unhesitating. since every friar had the power of reversing them. which. As the foundation of this sect was laid in republican states. expressly in the teeth of its enactments. affecting upon every occasion and on all points to observe an order of church-government. because . or. be subdued by the spiritual arm alone. that a wholesome faith in all the absurdities of the vulgar creed as to supernatural influences was necessary to maintain the influence of Diana of Ephesus. might be inconveniently restricted. and. Such being the general character of the three Churches. to call in the secular arm men for witchcraft a crime which fell especially under ecclesiastical cognizance. they permitted poison to be distilled. To the system of Rome the Calvinists offered the most determined opposition. in of undisputed power. honestly conceived and boldly expressed. and the excellent provisions made for their education afforded them learning to confute ignorance and enlighten prejudice. to be a good Protestant. as well as of worship. even if they were of a more credulous disposition. and could. the connexion of their system with the state.

with a new one. as at best a casting out of devils by the power of Beelzebub. It was not till the universal progress of heresy. in accordance with their usual policy. though they had not finally severed from the communion of the Anglican Church. We have no purpose to discuss the matter in detail — enough has probably been said to show generally why the Romanist should have cried out a miracle respecting an incident which the Anglican would have contemptuously termed an imposture. They assumed in the opposite sense whatever Rome pretended to as a proof of her omnipotent authority. the Calvinists considered either with scorn and contempt as the tools of deliberate quackery and imposture. and condemn the sorcerers. enforced by Adrian VI. regarded the success of the exorcising priest. But their position in society tended strongly to keep them from adopting. the attempt to confound any dissent from the doctrines of Rome with the proneness to an encouragement of rites of sorcery. the Calvinists. They saw also. ranked themselves. would have styled the same event an operation of the devil. fundamentally as much opposed to the doctrines of Rome as those who altogether disclaimed opinions and ceremonies merely because she had entertained them. witchcraft. the Calvinists. imprison. chiefly because it was the object to transfer the odium of these crimes to the Waldenses. as the fit emblems and instruments of an idolatrous system. generally speaking. While Rome thus positively declared herself against witches and sorcerers. in diametrical opposition to the doctrine of the Mother Church. The bull of Pope Innocent was afterwards. in the end of the fifteenth century. yet disapproved of her ritual and ceremonies as retaining too much of the Papal stamp. in which excommunication was directed against sorcerers and heretics. on such subjects as we are now discussing. It followed that. and excite and direct the public hatred against the new sect by confounding their doctrines with the influence of the devil and his fiends. The exorcisms. inspired with a darker zeal. the most undoubting believers in its existence. the King of the Devils. and resented bitterly. and rites. in the year 1523. in whose numbers must be included the greater part of the English Puritans. and. were of all the contending sects the most suspicions of sorcery. to whatever extent they admitted it. the robes of the priest. called to convict. though trials and even condemnations for that offence . like the holy water. Such of them as did not absolutely deny the supernatural powers of which the Romanists made boast. or with horror and loathing. either the eager credulity of the Vulgar mind or the fanatic ferocity of their Calvinistic rivals. by which good Catholics believed that incarnate fiends could be expelled and evil spirits of every kind rebuked — these. and the most eager to follow it up with what they conceived to be the due punishment of the most fearful of crimes. who. already quoted. while the Calvinist. that the bull of Pope Innocent VIII. while the divines of the Church of England possessed the upper hand in the kingdom. above all.every convent had the antidote which was disposed of to all who chose to demand it. with the unceasing desire of open controversy with the Catholics. without doubt.. On the whole. forms. and the sign of the cross. The leading divines of the Church of England were.

to avoid such a tempting opportunity as a supposed case of possession . a principle already referred to by Dr. a general persecution of sorcerers and witches seemed to take place of consequence. Two children were tried in 1574 for counterfeiting possession. of course. The numbers of witches. called the Maid of Westwell. connecting its ceremonies and usages with those of the detested Catholic Church. to cure it. and publicly showed her fits and tricks of mimicry. supposing him more tender of the interest of his order than that of truth. The passing of Elizabeth's statute against witchcraft in 1562 does not seem to have been intended to increase the number of trials. were nothing else than marks of imposture by some idle vagabond. contortions. the Calvinists were more eager than other sects in searching after the traces this crime. and pursuing it to the expiation of the fagot. and take the credit of curing them. On the other hand. relics. in which both juries and judges in Elizabeth's time must be admitted to have shown fearful severity.occasionally occurred. produced as evidence of the demon's influence on the possessed person. which had led to the belief of witchcraft or sorcery in general. Mildred Norrington. in making discoveries of guilt. and their supposed dealings with Satan. Under the former supposition. and. When the accusations are disbelieved and dismissed as not worthy of attention. In a word. it usually happened that wherever the Calvinist interest became predominant in Britain. These cases of possession were in some respects sore snares to the priests of the Church of Rome. and affords little trouble to the judges. as they might suppose. The strong influence already possessed by the Puritans may probably be sufficient to account for the darker issue of certain cases. and the fact is. will increase or decrease according as such doings are accounted probable or impossible. by the faith reposed in them. and of the power of the church's prayers. were nevertheless often tempted to admit them as real. and other extravagances. it did neither the one nor the other. and entertained a strong and growing suspicion that legitimate grounds for such trials seldom actually existed. who. and stood in the pillory for impostors. Fearing and hating sorcery more than other Protestants. and ceremonies. The period was one when the Catholic Church had much occasion to rally around her all the respect that remained to her in a schismatic and heretical kingdom. so that Reginald Scot and others alleged it was the vain pretences and empty forms of the Church of Rome. furnished another instance of possession. or cases of conviction at least . Francis Hutchison will be found to rule the tide and the reflux of such cases in the different churches. Nor did prosecutions on account of such charges frequently involve a capital punishment. it was difficult for a priest. charges and convictions will be found augmented in a terrific degree. did not create that epidemic terror which the very suspicion of the offence carried with it elsewhere. while learned judges were jealous of the imperfection of the evidence to support the charge. but she also confessed her imposture. and when her fathers and doctors announced the existence of such a dreadful disease. while they were too sagacious not to be aware that the pretended fits. the crime becomes unfrequent. unusually successful. strange sounds. ceases to occupy the public mind.

and during his possession played a number of fantastic tricks. It was hardly to be wondered at. We have already stated that. was one of the most remarkable which the Dissenters brought forward. and exercised themselves in appointed days of humiliation and fasting during the course of a whole year. in their eagerness. That of Grace Sowerbutts. Harsnett's celebrated book on Popish Impostures. on condition of being made the best dancer in Lancashire. if the ecclesiastic was sometimes induced to aid the fraud of which such motives forbade him to be the detector. and brought more discredit on the Church of Rome than was counterbalanced by any which might be more cunningly managed. The memorable case of Richard Dugdale. adopted some of their ideas respecting demoniacs. in which Roman ecclesiastics had not hesitated to mingle themselves. ceremonies. cannot the universal seed-plot of subtile wiles and stratagems spring up one new method of cutting capers? 'Is this the top of skill and pride. and relics. All respect for the demon seems to have abandoned the reverend gentlemen. in their violent opposition to the Papists. They fixed a committee of their number. canst thou not there find out some better way of trampling? Pump thine invention dry. mightgive him the necessary information what was the most exact mode of performing his part. instructed by a Catholic priest to impeach her grandmother of witchcraft. Ransack the old records of all past times and places in thy memory. Such combinations were sometimes detected. he wanted no further instruction how to play it. and they got so regardless of Satan as to taunt him with the mode in which he executed his promise to teach his vassal dancing. after they had relieved guard in this manner for some little time. caught at an opportunity to relieve an afflicted person. to shuffle feet and brandish knees thus. whose case the regular clergy appeared to have neglected. wherein he gives the history of several notorious cases of detected fraud. not much different from those exhibited by expert posture-masters of the present day.offered for displaying the high privilege in which his profession made him a partaker. who. At this he might hesitate the less. Such cases were not. by the vehemence of prayer and the authority o their own sacred commission. since a hint or two. This person threw himself into the hands of the Dissenters. as he was not obliged to adopt the suspected and degrading course of holding an immediate communication in limine with the impostor. Canst thou dance no better? &c. called the Surrey Impostor. and we have now to add that they also claimed. and to trip like a doe and skip like a squirrel? And wherein differ thy leapings from the . This youth was supposed to have sold his soul to the devil. and if the patient was possessed by a devil of any acuteness or dexterity. however. in order to obtain for his church the credit of expelling the demon. that power of expelling devils which the Church of Rome pretended to exercise by rites. On this subject the reader may turn to Dr. was a very gross fraud. the Dissenters. as extremes usually approach each other. The following specimen of raillery is worth commemoration: — “What. dropped in the supposed sufferer's presence. limited to the ecclesiastics of Rome. or to abstain from conniving at the imposture. who weekly attended the supposed sufferer. Satan! is this the dancing that Richard gave himself to thee for? &c.

in which she herself furnished all the scenes and played all the parts. The daughter of a Mr. though. This young lady and her sisters were supposed to be haunted by nine spirits. they relinquished their task by degrees. Throgmorton. which now attracted little notice. to be preached by a doctor or bachelor of divinity of Queen's College. and the eldest of them at last got up a vastly pretty drama. one Samuel and his wife were old and very poor persons. from education. they were less prone to prejudice than those of other sects. Cambridge. A singular case is mentioned of three women. and twitch up thy houghs just like a springhault tit?”* One might almost conceive the demon replying to this raillery in the words of Dr. But the nursery drama of Miss Throgmorton had a horrible conclusion. at a time when she was not very well. Dugdale. intercourse with the world. and was ever after exclaiming against her. are yet far from being entirely free of the charge of encouraging in particular instances the witch superstition. to achieve a complete cure on Dugdale by an amicable understanding. and if anything could have induced them to sing Te Deum. he is under the necessity of acknowledging that some regular country clergymen so far shared the rooted prejudices of congregations. Such imaginary scenes. and of the government which established laws against it. But the reverend gentlemen who had taken his case in hand still assumed the credit of curing him. and even in countenancing the superstitious signs by which in that period the vulgar thought it possible to ascertain the existence of the afflictions by witchcraft. for Sir Samuel Cromwell. and most readers may remember having had some Utopia of their own. attended a regular physician. or the bouncings of a goat. out of the estate of the poor persons who suffered. called the Witches of Warbois. or make-believe stories. so. The accused.” The dissenters were probably too honest. as to be active in the persecution of the suspected. having received the sum of forty pounds as lord of the manor. Hutchison pleads that the Church of England has the least to answer for in that matter. took a whim that she had bewitched her. after their year of vigil.hoppings of a frog. weary of his illness. and other advantages. Indeed. turned it into a rent-charge of forty shillings yearly. their story is a matter of solemn enough record. and was cured of that part of his disease which was not affected in a regular way par ordonnance du médecin. Johnson. however simple. “This merriment of parsons is extremely offensive. until seconded by the continued earnestness of their private devotions! The ministers of the Church of England. seeing the poor old woman in a black knitted cap. They said that the effect of their public prayers had been for a time suspended. The other children of this fanciful family caught up the same cry. dispatched by the wicked Mother . and their daughter a young woman. Even while Dr. or gesticulations of a monkey? And cannot a palsy shake such a loose lea as that ? Dost thou not twirl like a calf that hath the turn. and obtain the knowledge of the perpetrator. for the endowment of an annual lecture on the subject of witchcraft. are the common amusement of lively children . or friskings of a dog. it would have been this occasion.

for such it certainly is. “and what news do you bring?” Smack. and torture her. Catch. as her ladyship died in a year and quarter from that very day. Mrs. The names of the spirits were Pluck. and whose fancy ran apparently on love and gallantry). Mother Samuel's complaisance in the latter case only led to a new charge. “that you are able to beat them. “I wonder. the other limping. was mixed with tragedy enough. and when the patients from time to time recovered. Blue. and they very big. her landlady.” On this repulse. Throgmorton brought her to his house by force. the scene.” he replied. and. informed her he came from fighting with Pluck: the weapons. and his cousins Smacks would beat the other two. They disappeared after having threatened vengeance upon the conquering Smack. “he would beat the best two of them.” This most pitiful mirth. on her return home. Nay. and enter Pluck. who.” said the damsel. did battle for her with the less friendly spirits. The sapient parents heard one part of the dialogue. “he had broken your neck also.” said Mrs. and promised to protect her against Mother Samuel herself. and especially of the old dame and her cat. Hardname. It happened that the Lady Cromwell.” “He cared not for that.Samuel for that purpose. Blue. Mr. had some disease on her nerves. it was sagaciously concluded that she must have fallen a victim to the witcheries of the terrible Dame Samuel. supposed that one of the Smacks was her lover. Miss Throgmorton and her sisters railed against Dame Samuel. “Look you for thanks at my hand?” said the distressed maiden. all trophies of Smack's victory. you are little. abusing her with the worst epithets. nothing abashed. be had broken Pluck's head. exit Smack. as the witch-creed of that period recommended. he soon afterwards appeared with his laurels. “And who got the mastery. as was supposed. the eldest (who. and gave it to Mrs. He told her of his various conflicts. and the third with his arm in a sling. to the spirits who afflicted them. who were cousins. I pray you?” said the damsel. and when Mr. and three Smacks. the little fiends longed to draw blood of her. and the following curious extract will show on what a footing of familiarity the damsel stood with her spiritual gallant : “From whence come you. dreamed of her day's work. like other young women of her age. for yon are all naught. or Jane. “I would you were all hanged up against each other. Smack?” says the afflicted young lady . Joan Throgmorton. clipped out some of her hair. scratch her. a ruinous bakehouse in Dame Samuel's yard. great cowl-staves. Throgmorton to burn it for a counter-charm. yet the poor woman incurred deeper suspicion when she expressed a wish to leave a house where she was so coarsely treated and lay under such odious suspicions. with your dame for company. when the children in their fits returned answers.” “Is that the thanks I am to have for my labour?” said the disappointed Smack. and Catch. the first with his head broken. Joan. they furnished the counterpart by telling what the spirits had said to them. about fifteen. However. It was in vain that this unhappy creature endeavoured to avert their resentment by submitting to all the ill-usage they chose to put upon her. in vain that she underwent unresistingly the worst usage at the hand of Lady Cromwell. Mr. Smack answered. Throgmorton also compelled the old woman and her . “I would. tore her cap from her head.

did as she was bidden. One is ashamed of an English judge and jury when it must be repeated that the evidence of these enthusiastic and giddy-pated girls was deemed sufficient to the condemnation of three innocent persons. and out of a perverted examination they drew what they called a confession. Dame Samuel. as provided by Sir Samuel Cromwell. She was advised by some. was induced to say to the supposed spirit. the Witch of Walkerne. however. there was a laugh among the unfeeling audience. who could not understand that the life of an English-woman. “No. though mainly for the sake of contrast. before Mr. More fortunate. justice Fenner. though of a forced and mutilated character. and not only encouraged the charge. and she was necessarily condemned to die. and that the devil must be the father.daughter to use expressions which put their lives in the Power of these malignant children. which was of a much later date. indeed. who had carried on the farce so long that they could not well escape from their own web of deceit but by the death of these helpless creatures. But her husband and daughter continued to maintain their innocence. and a causer of Lady Cromwell's death. We may here mention. Some of the country clergy were carried away by the land-flood of superstition in this instance also. to which she answered disdainfully. Goody Samuel.” The girl lay still. the efficacy of which depended on popular credulity. Jane Wenham was tried before a sensible and philosophic judge. was at length worried into a confession of her guilt by the various vexations which were practised on her. For example. should be taken away by a set of barbarous tricks and experiments. but gave their countenance to some of the ridiculous and indecent tricks resorted to as proofs of witchcraft by the lowest vulgar. for the purposes of justice were never so perverted. “As I am a witch. But the good sense of the judge. by pretences of bewitched persons vomiting fire — a trick very easy to those who chose to exhibit such a piece of jugglery amongst such as rather desire to be taken in by it than to detect the imposture. The usual sort of evidence was brought against this poor woman. These unfortunate Samuels were condemned at Huntingdon. It was a singular case to be commemorated by an annual lecture. in which the poor old victim joined loudly and heartily. and this was accounted a proof that the poor woman. seconded by that of other reflecting and sensible persons. 1593. the much-disputed case of Jane Wenham. nor her sword turned to a more flagrant murder. He reprieved the . as she was termed. the prisoner. who pitied her youth. 4th April. who. I will not be both held witch and strumpet!” The mother. As her years put such a plea out of the question. to gain at least a respite by pleading pregnancy. only subdued and crushed by terror and tyranny. was a witch. Under such proof the jury brought her in guilty. than many persons placed in the like circumstances. The witchfinder practised upon her the most vulgar and ridiculous tricks or charms. and were inclined to think they had a Joanna Southcote before them. Some there were who thought it no joking matter. I charge thee to come out of the maiden. however mean. The last showed a high spirit and proud value for her character. saved the country from the ultimate disgrace attendant on too many of these unhallowed trials. caught at the advice recommended to her daughter. to show her sanity of mind and the real value of her confession.

she only took the proper means for the vindication of her good name . Colonel Plummer of Gilston. As this was one of the last cases of conviction in England. she protested her innocence. and begged she might pot go to gaol. and from whom did you expect your answers? Who was your father? and into whose hands did you put yourselves? and (if the true sense of the statute had been turned upon you) which way would you have defended yourselves? (4) Durst you have used her in this manner if she had been rich? and doth not her poverty increase rather than lessen your guilt in what you did ? “And therefore. fell upon her knees. He thus expostulates with some of the better class who were eager for the prosecution: — “(1) What single fact of sorcery did this Jane Wenham do? What charm did she use. or what act of witchcraft could you prove upon her? Laws are against evil actions that can be proved to be of the person's doing. and. and a sensible gentleman.witch before be left the assize-town. that you could put into the narrative of her case? When she was denied a few turnips. I ask you (5) Whether you have not more reason to give God thanks that you met with a wise judge. edifying her visitors by her accuracy and attention in repeating her devotions. placed the poor old woman in a small house near his own and under his immediate protection. and you gave way to that barbarous usage that she met with. when her door was broken open. she laid them down very submissively. never afterwards gave the slightest cause of suspicion or offence till her dying day. excepting in that case where she complied with you too much. and . And what could any of us have done better. and. would have let you swim her. This was her behaviour. and at her trial she declared herself a clear woman. when she was called witch and bitch. What single fact that was against the statute could you fix upon her? I ask (2) Did she so much as speak an imprudent word. Dr Hutchison has been led to dilate upon it with some strength of eloquence as well as argument. A humane and high-spirited gentleman. The rest of the history is equally a contrast to some we have told and others we shall have to recount. and used that ridiculous trial of the bottle. in her innocent simplicity. Here she lived and died. in honest and fair reputation. &c. who kept you from shedding innocent blood. putting at defiance popular calumny. and it must be admitted that the most severe of the laws against witchcraft originated with a Scottish King of England. it was not an usual point of their professional character. and offered to let you swim her ? “(3) When you used the meanest of paganish and popish superstitions — when you scratched and mangled and ran pins into her flesh. and reviving the meanest and cruelest of all superstitions amongst us?”* But although individuals of the English Church might on some occasions be justly accused of falling into lamentable errors on a subject where error was so general. removed from her brutal and malignant neighbours. when she saw this storm coming upon her she locked herself in her own house and tried to keep herself out of your cruel hands. instead of closing your book with a liberavimus animas nostras and reflecting upon the court. or do an immoral action. — whom did you consult.

Men might now be punished for the practice of witchcraft. in the attempt to relieve demoniacs from a disease which was commonly occasioned by natural causes. Earl of Bothwell. each of which was declared felony. Several had been executed for an attempt to poison him by magical arts. according to King James's fancy. by which words and numbers were the only sufferers. though imprudently. the Convocation of the Church evinced a very different spirit. the monarch had composed a deep work upon Demonology. besides the more harmless freak of becoming a prentice in the art of poetry. when the legislature rather adopted the passions and fears of the king than expressed their own by this fatal enactment. were also proud of his supposed abilities and real knowledge of books and languages. without benefit of clergy. whese repeated attempts on his person had long been James's terror. when it was at the highest. The English statute against witchcraft. embracing in their fullest extent the most absurd and gross of the popular errors on this subject. and who conceived he knew them from experience to be his own — who. and were naturally. describing witchcraft by all the various modes and ceremonies in which. without necessary reference to the ulterior objects of the perpetrator. thereby virtually putting a stop to a fertile source of knavery among the people. who had proved with his pert the supposed sorcerers to be the direct enemies of the Deity. This gave much wider scope I o prosecution on the statute than had existed under the milder acts of Elizabeth. establishing that no minister or ministers should in future attempt to expel any devil or. without the license of his bishop . if not the mere creature of imposture. that crime could be perpetrated. is therefore of a most special nature. and the turbulent Francis Stewart. when the Calvinists obtained for a short period a predominating influence in the councils of Parliament. had upon much lighter occasions (as in the case of Vorstius) showed no hesitation at throwing his royal authority into the scale to aid his arguments — very naturally used his influence. James succeeded to Elizabeth amidst the highest expectations on the part of his new people. however. moreover. appear to have led at first to many . Unfortunately. devils. had begun his Course of rebellion by a consultation with the weird sisters and soothsayers. seeing the ridicule brought on their sacred profession by forward and presumptuous men. besides their general satisfaction at coming once more under the rule of a king. Thus the king. for. and disgraceful folly among the inferior church-men. He considered his crown and life as habitually aimed at by the sworn slaves of Satan. they passed a canon. as itself a crime.that the only extensive persecution following that statute occurred during the time of the Civil Wars. disposed to gratify him by deferring to his judgment in matters wherein his studies were supposed to have rendered him a special proficient. The new statute of James does not. who. to extend and enforce the laws against a crime which he both hated and feared. passed in the very first year of that reign. It is remarkable that in the same year.

It happened fortunately for Fairfax's memory. or aver she saw. One of the most remarkable was (proh pudor! ) instigated by a gentleman. but there is no doubt that it was speedily caught up and fostered for the purpose of gain. was to place the life and fame of the accused in the power of any hypochondriac patient or malignant impostor. and this was accounted a sure sign of guilt in those whose forms were so manifested during the fits of the afflicted. The obvious tendency of this doctrine. an account of whom may be . but that the evidence of the sufferers related to the appearance of their spectre . be confuted even by the most distinct alibi . or apparition. when nineteen witches were tried at once at Lancaster. The chief person age in the drama is Elizabeth Southam. a scholar of classical taste. Prevailing poet. according to the ideas of the demonologists. by imps. Fairfax accused six of his neighbours of tormenting his children by fits of an extraordinary kind. the one in 1613. but more from the ingenious and well-merited compliment to the beauty of the females of that province which it was held to contain). that the objects of his prosecution were persons of good character. for it could not. and who were complained of and cried out upon by the victim. the fatal sentence was to rest. strange to tell. Mr.” In allusion to his credulity on such subjects. To a defence of that sort it was replied that the afflicted person did not see the actual witch. Whether the first notice of this sorcery sprung from the idle head of a mischievous boy. a witch redoubted under the name of Dembdike. followed soon after. and made so wise and skilful a charge to the jury. as to visionary or spectral evidence. whose corporeal presence must indeed have been obvious to every one in the room as well as to the afflicted. as it was called.prosecutions. and that the judge was a man of sense. who might either seem to see. and. but that of their imagination. whose undoubting mind Believed the magic wonders which he sung!” Like Mr. An obliging correspondent sent me a sight of a copy of this curious and rare book. not upon the truth of the witnesses' eyes. and another of the name of Preston at York. by British Fairfax strung. as if enjoying and urging on the afflictions which she complained of. gave a most cruel advantage against the accused. The celebrated case of ” the Lancashire witches” (whose name was and will be long remembered. The admitting this last circumstance to be a legitimate mode of proof. To hear thy harp. The original story ran thus: — These Lancaster trials were at two periods. and by appearing before the afflicted in their own shape during the crisis of these operations. Barons of Exchequer. and a beautiful poet. before Sir James Altham and Sir Edward Bromley. Throgmorton in the Warbois case. partly from Shadwell's play. the spectrum of the accused old man or old woman. that they brought in a verdict of not guilty. being no other than Edward Fairfax of Fayston. in Knaresborough Forest. The report against these people is drawn up by Thomas Potts. the translator of Tasso's “Jerusalem Delivered. Collins has introduced the following elegant lines: — “How have I sate while piped the pensive wind. is uncertain.

” and. together with lumps of butter. hellish and damnable practices. into which Edmund Robinson entered with others. as they pulled them. The witness averred that Mother Dickenson offered him money to conceal what he had seen. as to secure a good brewing of ale or the like. In that which follows the accusation can be more clearly traced to the most villanous conspiracy. He declared that while engaged in the charm they made such ugly faces and looked so fiendish that he was frightened. travelling priests. started up instead of the one greyhound. “ on their own examinations and confessions. she pulled out of her pocket a bridle and shook it over the head of the boy who had so lately represented the other greyhound. On this. saying ” Nay. a neighbour's wife.” as well as a description of Manikins' Tower.seen in Mr. and the consequence was that young Robinson was carried from church to church in the neighbourhood. and took Robinson before her. in the boy's fancy. whose father. he saw two greyhounds. and some of their spells are given in which the holy names and things alluded to form a strange contrast with the purpose to which they were applied. Roby's ” Antiquities of Lancaster. when one Dame Dickenson. but though a hare was started. It appears that this remote county was full of Popish recusants. complete a rustic feast. Old Robinson. perhaps) in one of the glades of the forest. that he might recognise the faces of any persons he had seen at the rendezvous of witches. There was more to the same purpose — as the boy's having seen one of these haps sitting half-way up his father's chimney. who had been an evidence against the former witches in 1613. and knew. .” Apparently she was determined he should have full evidence of the truth of what he said. the witches' place of meeting. the dogs refused to run. to the great displeasure of the ignorant people of the county. charms. and against the alleged accomplice also. for. seeing nobody following them. went along with his son. But it ended in near a score of persons being committed to prison. Mother Dickenson mounted. the scene of the alleged witching. a little boy instead of the other. They then rode to a large house or barn called Hourstoun. mischances. declared that while gathering bullees (wild plums. thou art a witch. conspiracies. to speak the truth. and so forth. Such was the first edition of the Lancashire witches. like the Magician Queen in the Arabian Tales.” says the editor. The boy reported that. called Fancy and Tib. He there saw six or seven persons pulling at halters. “ apparent. we have one of two female devils. young Robinson was about to punish them with a switch. Several of the unhappy women were found not guilty. a very poor man. It is remarkable that some of the unfortunate women endeavoured to transfer the guilt from themselves to others with whom they had old quarrels. About 1634 a boy called Edmund Robinson. and some such goodly matter. The public imputed to the accused parties a long train of murders. from which. he proposed to have a course. which he refused. which he imagined to belong to gentlemen in that neighbourhood. Among other tales. porringers of milk. dwelt in Pendle Forest. meat ready dressed came flying in quantities. which confessions were held good evidence against those who made them. and whatever else might. visible nowhere else. He was directly changed into a horse. Mother Dembdike had the good luck to die before conviction.

Sussex. Webster sought and found the boy. Wier has considered the clergy of every sect as being too eager in this species of persecution: Ad gravem hanc impietatem. in his more advanced years. which made some little disturbance for the time. but that they utterly denied.” says Webster. evinced a very extraordinary degree of credulity in such cases. a parish church. and the state of church-government was altered. for a season a great degree of popularity in England. The rash and ill-judged attempt to enforce upon the Scottish a compliance with the government and ceremonies of the High Church divines. to look about him. should have countenanced or defended such proceedings as those of the impudent and cruel wretch called Matthew Hopkins. With much strict morality and pure practice of religion. were often appointed by the Privy Council Commissioners for the trial of witchcraft. and two very unlikely persons. who. and the severe prosecutions in the Star Chamber and Prerogative Courts. when men did what seemed good in their own eyes. ' Good boy. such as Calamy and Baxter.* There was now approaching a time when the law against witchcraft. didst thou hear and see such strange things of the motions of the witches as many do report that thou didst relate. the influence of the Calvinistic divines increased. connivent theologi plerique omnes . it is to be regretted these were still marked by unhesitating belief in the existence of sorcery.doubtless. and they never asked him such a question. was preaching at the time. and his son probably took care to recognise none who might make a handsome consideration. says he. had given the Presbyterian system. and Huntingdon. being then curate there. But it is not to be denied that the Presbyterian ecclesiastics who. To whom I replied. “ This boy. sufficiently bloody in itself. “ was brought into the church at Kildwick. superintending . “ did conduct him and manage the business: I did desire some discourse with the boy in private. and a keen desire to extend and enforce the legal penalties against it. In the presence of a great many many people I took the boy near me and said. that he was instructed and suborned to swear these things against the accused persons by his father and others. how to make his journey profitable. where I. and was heard often to confess that on the day which be pretended to see the said witches at the house or barn. ' The persons accused had the more wrong. and said be had been examined by two able justices of peace. and that the temporary superiority of the same sect in England was marked by enormous cruelties of this kind. and as the King's party declined during the Civil War. pretended to discover witches.” After prayers Mr. Norfolk. travelling through the counties of Essex. he was gathering plums in a neighbour's orchard. was to be pushed to more violent extremities than the quiet scepticism of the Church of England clergy gave way to. assumed the title of Witchfinder General. in those unsettled times.'“ The boy afterwards acknowledged. tell me truly and in earnest. To this general error must impute the misfortune that good men. or did not some person teach thee to say such things of thyself?' But the two men did pluck the boy from me. who. in Scotland. The great Civil War had been preceded and anticipated by the fierce disputes of the ecclesiastical parties. and.

just as a blight on any tree or vegetable calls to life a peculiar insect to feed upon and enjoy the decay which it has produced. In his defence against an accusation of fleecing the country. learned his trade of a witchfinder. to . and told her to keep it in a can near the fire. and she would never want. Baxter passes on to another story of a mother who gave her child an imp like a mole.their examination by the most unheard-of tortures. not far from Framlingham. He was perhaps a native of Manningtree. he resided there in the year 1644. such as that divine most unquestionably was. and credible persons that lived in the counties. Upon this occasion he had made himself busy. as he saw a ship under sail. named Lowis. and heard their sad confessions. and he. had entered all the witches' names in England. being near the sea. learned. Perhaps the learned divine was one of those who believed that the Witchfinder General had cheated the devil out of a certain memorandum-book. pious.”* It may be noticed that times of misrule and violence seem to create individuals fatted to take advantage from them. and see there was no fraud or wrong done them. and brought them to confessions. and be consented. His principal mode of discovery was to strip the accused persons naked. for the benefit of his memory certainly. A monster like Hopkins could only have existed during the confusion of civil dissension. in which Satan.parson . and thrust pins into various parts of their body. The hanging of a great number of witches in 1645 and 1646 is famously known. in Essex. the issue of which was the forfeiture of their lives.” and without doing him the justice due to one who had discovered more than one hundred witches. Mr. for no one can have less desire to wrong a devout and conscientious man. and moved from one place to another. when an epidemic outcry of witchcraft arose in that town. at any rate. Before examining these cases more minutely.” Mr. with an assistant named Sterne. though borne aside on this occasion by prejudice and credulity. as he pretends. was one that was hanged. It is remarkable that in this passage Baxter names the Witchfinder General rather slightly as ” one Hopkins. including charges of living and journeying thither and back again with his assistants. He also affirms that he went nowhere unless called and invited. and a female. and saw the ship sink before them. and having a character suited to the seasons which raise them into notice and action. and more such stuff as nursery-maids tell froward children to keep them quiet. and that one of them was always putting him upon doing mischief. He was afterwards permitted to perform it as a legal profession. and. he declares his regular charge was twenty shillings a town. and some that went to them in the prisons. Among the rest an old reading. Calamy went along with the judges on the circuit to hear their confessions. it moved him to send it to sink the ship. affecting more zeal and knowledge than other men. I will quote Baxter's own words. from experiment. which that good man received as indubitable. I spoke with many understanding. who confessed that he had two imps. and that Hopkins availed himself of this record. and compelling forlorn and miserable wretches to admit and confess matters equally absurd and impossible.

with their families and estates. and so dragged through a pond or river. when the suspected person was wrapped in a sheet. The boast of the English nation is a manly independence and common-sense. Hopkins confesses these last practices of keeping the accused persons waking and forcing them to walk for the same purpose had been originally used by him. and betake me to such places where I do and may punish (not only) without control. who should daily speak terror to convince such offenders) stand up to take their parts against such as are complainants for the king. Mr. and for the same purpose they were dragged about by their keepers till extreme weariness and the pain of blistered feet might form additional inducements to confession. Many clergymen and gentlemen made head against the practices of this cruel oppressor of the defence-less. on the principle of King James. If she sank. and rest your . terrified. I will come to Kimbolton this week. through ignorance). in treating of this mode of trial. it was received in favour of the accused. which is a figure of speech. lie affirms that both practices were then disused. I much marvel such evil men should have any (much more any of the clergy. which will not long permit the license of tyranny or oppression on the meanest and most obscure sufferers. overwatched persons in the next state to absolute madness. But as his tract is a professed answer to charges of cruelty and oppression. and it required courage to do so when such an unscrupulous villain had so much interest. the sooner to hear his singular judgment in the behalf of such parties. but I would certainly know before whether your town affords many sticklers for such cattle. having the great toes and thumbs tied together. doubtless. which is an admirable medley of impudence. as witches have renounced their baptism. He also practised and stoutly defended the trial by swimming.discover the witch's mark. to put infirm. a clergyman. as others where I have been. which was supposed to be inflicted by the devil as a sign of his sovereignty. and no argument. lays down that. and Hopkins. bullying. God willing. and it will be ten to one but I will come to your town first. So I humbly take my leave.-I have this day received a letter to come to a town called Great Houghton to search for evil-disposed person's called witches (though I hear your minister is far against us. and. if it was placed with care on the surface of the water). but with thanks and recompense. of Houghton. the accused was condemned. in consequence. else I shall waive your shire (not as yet beginning in any part of it myself). It was Hopkins's custom to keep the poor wretches waking. or is willing to give and allow us good welcome and entertainment. who. but if the body floated (which must have occurred ten times for once. and sufferers themselves. Gaul. and forced to recant it by the Committee* in the same place. had the courage to appear in print on the weaker side. in order to prevent them from having encouragement from the devil. I intend to come. and cowardice:“ My service to your worship presented. and at which she was also said to suckle her imps. I have known a minister in Suffolk as much against this discovery in a pulpit. assumed the assurance to write to some functionaries of the place the following letter. so it is just that the element through which the holy rite is enforced should reject them. and that they had not of late been resorted to. I intend to give your town a visit suddenly. in Huntingdonshire.

she is then bound with cords.” A gentleman in the neighbourhood. cross-legged. we can conceive him. and was probably condemned rather as a royalist and malignant than for any other cause. without any purpose of gratification to be procured to himself by such iniquity. and he began to disavow some of the cruelties he had formerly practised. whose widow survived to authenticate the story. they that watch are taught to be ever and anon sweeping the room. For this Dr. 1596. or any man. We have seen that in 1647 Hopkins's tone became lowered. and after due food and rest the poor old woman could recollect nothing of the confession. “ was called Nan. to have indeed become so weary of his life as to acknowledge that. comprehending two clergymen in esteem with the leading party. He showed at the execution considerable energy. whence coming and whither bound. and if they cannot kill them. be defended himself courageously at his trial. Gaul describes the tortures employed by this fellow as equal to any practised in the Inquisition. who quotes a letter from the relict of the humane gentleman. one of whom. he read it aloud for himself while on the road to the gibbet. “ Having taken the suspected witch. they shall within that time see her imp come and suck. and if they see any spiders or flies.” she said. 6th May. and had confessed all the usual enormities. she is placed in the middle of a room. In the year 1645 a Commission of Parliament was sent down. Hutchison may be referred to. About the same time a miserable old woman had fallen into the cruel hands of this miscreant near Hoxne. But in another cause a judge would have demanded some proof of the corpus delecti. A little hole is likewise made in the door for the imps to come in at. near Framlington in Suffolk. took the woman out of such inhuman bands.” If torture of this kind was applied to the Reverend Mr. he sunk a vessel. in short. something to establish that the whole story was not the idle imagination of a man who might have been entirely deranged. John Lewis was presented to the vicarage of Brandiston. “ Matthew Hopkins.servant to be commanded. and lest they should come in some less discernible shape. till executed as a wizard on such evidence as we have seen. but that she gave a favourite pullet the name of Nan. Baxter. they say. by means of his imps. Notwithstanding the story of his alleged confession. after being without food or rest a sufficient time. dismissed the witchfinders. and certainly was so at the time he made the admission. or in some other uneasy posture. and to secure that the funeral service of the church should be said over his body. they may be sure they are their imps. upon a stool or table. there she is watched and kept without meat or sleep for four-andtwenty hours. Fairclough of Kellar. some evidence of a vessel being lost at the period. where he lived about fifty years. Lewis. . Mr. whose death is too slightly announced by Mr. for. to kill them.” The sensible and courageous Mr. if she submits not. was so indignant that he went to the house. “ Her imp. a village in Suffolk. to which.

on the other hand.preached before the rest on the subject of witchcraft. must have received encouragement from some quarter of weight and influence yet it may sound strangely enough that this spirit of lenity should have been the result of the peculiar principles of those sectarians of all denominations. Although such laxity of discipline afforded scope to the wildest enthusiasm. Thus the Independents. Norfolk. were disposed to counteract the violence of such proceedings under pretence of witchcraft. when.” * The understanding reader will easily conceive that this alteration of the current in favour of those who disapproved of witch-prosecutions. in Essex. as had been driven forward by the wretched Hopkins. who to a certain point had been their allies. and finally combated with and overcome them. And some for putting knavish tricks Upon green geese or turkey chicks. on which. Whether he was drowned outright or not does not exactly appear. and room for all possible varieties of doctrine. the same sentiment induced them to regard with horror the prosecutions against witchcraft. who. it had. and Suffolk. And feeling pain. as he guess'd. under Cromwell. that it contributed to a degree of general toleration which was at that time unknown to any other Christian establishment. The Independents were distinguished by the wildest license in their religious tenets. without recompense. and after this appearance of enquiry the inquisitions and executions went on as before. had at length shaken themselves loose of that connexion. classed in general as Independents. this inestimable recommendation. And some for sitting above ground Whole days and nights upon their breeches. they attained a supremacy over the Presbyterians. and allowed the preaching of any one who could draw together a congregation that would support him. who made it their practice to adore the Evil Principle. And made a rod for his own breech. he stood convicted of witchcraft and so the country was rid of him. . excluded a legal prosecution of any one of these for heresy or apostasy. as he happened to float. it may be doubted whether the other sectaries would have accounted them absolute outcasts from the pale of the church. Who proved himself at length a witch. The very genius of a religion which admitted of the subdivision of sects ad infinitum . and. If there had even existed a sect of Manichæans. and put him to his own favourite experiment of swimming. mixed with much that was nonsensical and mystical. though they had originally courted the Presbyterians as the more numerous and prevailing party. to minister to the spiritual necessities of his bearers. They disowned even the title of a regular clergy. Fully empower'd to treat about Finding revolted witches out? And has he not within a year Hang'd threescore of them in one shire? Some only for not being drown'd. were hang'd for witches. fortunately. But the popular indignation was so strongly excited against Hopkins. for three or four years previous to 1647. but he has had the honour to be commemorated by the author of Hudibras: — “Hath not this present Parliament A leiger to the devil sent. Or pigs that suddenly deceased Of griefs unnatural. or who was willing. that some gentlemen seized on him.

The return of Charles II. to his crown and kingdom, served in some measure to restrain the general and wholesale manner in which the laws against witchcraft had been administered during the warmth of the Civil War. The statute of the 1st of King James, nevertheless, yet subsisted; nor is it in the least likely, considering the character of the prince, that he, to save the lives of a few old men or women, would have ran the risk of incurring the odium of encouraging or sparing a crime still held in horror by a great part of his subjects. The statute, however, was generally administered by wise and skilful judges, and the accused had such a chance of escape as the rigour of the absurd law permitted. Nonsense, it is too obvious, remained in some cases predominant. In the year 1663 an old dame, named Julian Coxe, was convicted chiefly on the evidence of a huntsman, who declared on his oath, that he laid his greyhounds on a hare, and coming up to the spot where he saw them mouth her, there he found, on the other side of a bush, Julian Coxe lying panting and breathless, in such a manner as to convince him that she had been the creature which afforded him the course. The unhappy woman was executed on this evidence. Two years afterwards (1664), it is with regret we must quote the venerable and devout Sir Matthew Hales, as presiding at a trial, in consequence of which Amy Dunny and Rose Callender were hanged at Saint Edmondsbury. But no man, unless very peculiarly circumstanced, can extricate himself from the prejudices of his nation and age. The evidence against the accused was laid, 1st, on the effect of spells used by ignorant persons to counteract the supposed witchcraft; the use of which was, under the statute of James I., as criminal as the act of sorcery which such counter-charms were meant to neutralize. 2ndly, The two old women, refused even the privilege of purchasing some herrings, having expressed themselves with angry impatience, a child of the herringmerchant fell ill in conseqence. 3rdly, A cart was driven against the miserable cottage of Amy Dunny. She scolded, of course; and shortly after the cart — (what a good driver will scarce comprehend) — stuck fast in a gate, where its wheels touched neither of the posts, and yet was moved easily forward on one of the posts (by which it was not impeded) being cut down. 4thly, One of the afflicted girls being closely muffled, went suddenly into a fit upon being touched by one of the supposed witches. But upon another trial it was found that the person so blindfolded fell into the same rage at the touch of an unsuspected person. What perhaps sealed the fate of the accused was the evidence of the celebrated Sir Thomas Browne, “ that the fits were natural, but heightened by the power of the devil co-operating with the malice of witches;” — a strange opinion, certainly, from the author of a treatise on ” Vulgar Errors !”* But the torch of science was now fairly lighted, and gleamed in more than one kingdom of the world, shooting its rays on every side, and catching at all means which were calculated to increase the illumination. The Royal Society, which had taken its rise at Oxford from a private association who met in Dr. Wilkin's chambers about the year 1652, was, the year after the Restoration, incorporated by royal charter, and began to

publish their Transactions, and give a new and more rational character to the pursuits of philosophy. In France, where the mere will of the government could accomplish greater changes, the consequence of an enlarged spirit of scientific discovery was, that a decisive stop was put to the witch-prosecutions which had heretofore been as common in that kingdom as in England. About the year 1672 there was a general arrest of very many shepherds and others in Normandy, and the Parliament of Rouen prepared to proceed in the investigation with the usual severity. But an order, or arret , from the king (Louis XIV.), with advice of his council, commanding all these unfortunate persons to be set at liberty and protected, had the most salutary effects all over the kingdom. The French Academy of Sciences was also founded; and, in imitation, a society of learned Germans established a similar institution at Leipsic. Prejudices, however old, were overawed and controlled — much was accounted for on natural principles that had hitherto been imputed to spiritual agency — everything seemed to promise that farther access to the secrets of nature might be opened to those who should prosecute their studies experimentally and by analysis — and the mass of ancient opinions which overwhelmed the dark subject of which we treat began to be derided and rejected by men of sense and education. In many cases the prey was now snatched from the spoiler. A pragmatical justice of peace in Somersetshire commenced a course of enquiry after offenders against the statute of James I., and had he been allowed to proceed, Mr. Hunt might have gained a name as renowned for witch-finding as that of Mr. Hopkins; but his researches were stopped from higher authority — the lives of the poor people arrested (twelve in number) were saved, and the country remained at quiet, though the supposed witches were suffered to live. The examinations attest some curious particulars, which may be found in Sadducismus Triumphalus : for among the usual string of froward, fanciful, or, as they were called, afflicted children, brought forward to club their startings, starings, and screamings, there appeared also certain remarkable confessions of the accused, from which we learn that the Somerset Satan enlisted his witches, like a wily recruiting sergeant, with one shilling in hand and twelve in promises ; that when the party of weird-sisters passed to the witch-meeting they used the magic words, Thout, tout, throughout, and about ; and that when they departed they exclaimed, Rentum, Tormentum ! We are further informed that his Infernal Highness, on his departure, leaves a smell and that (in nursery-maid's phrase) not a pretty one, behind him. Concerning this fact we have a curious exposition by Mr. Glanville. “ This,” — according to that respectable authority, “ seems to imply the reality of the business, those ascititious particles which he held together in his sensible shape being loosened at the vanishing, and so offending the nostrils by their floating and diffusing themselves in the open air.”* How much are we bound to regret that Mr. Justice Hunt's discovery ” of this hellish kind of witches,” in itself so clear and plain, and containing such valuable information, should have been smothered by meeting with opposition and discouragement from some

then in authority ! Lord Keeper Guildford was also a stifler of the proceedings against witches. Indeed, we may generally remark, during the latter part of the seventeenth century, that where the judges were men of education and courage, sharing in the information of the times, they were careful to check the precipitate ignorance and prejudice of the juries, by giving them a more precise idea of the indifferent value of confessions by the accused themselves, and of testimony derived from the pretended visions of those supposed to be bewitched. Where, on the contrary, judges shared with the vulgar in their ideas of such fascination, or were contented to leave the evidence with the jury, fearful to withstand the general cry too common on such occasions, a verdict of guilty often followed. We are informed by Roger North that a case of this kind happened at the assizes in Exeter, where his brother, the Lord Chief justice, did not interfere with the crown trials, and the other. judge left for execution a poor old woman, condemned, as usual, on her own confession, and on the testimony of a neighbour, who deponed that he saw a cat jump into the accused person's cottage window at twilight, one evening, and that he verily believed the said cat to be the devil; on which precious testimony the poor wretch was accordingly hanged. On another occasion, about the same time, the passions of the great and little vulgar were so much excited by the aquittal of an aged village dame, whom the judge had taken some pains to rescue, that Sir John Long, a man of rank and fortune, came to the judge in the greatest perplexity, requesting that the hag might not be permitted to return to her miserable cottage on his estates, since all his tenants had in that case threatened to leave him. In compassion to a gentleman who apprehended ruin from a cause so whimsical, the dangerous old woman was appointed to be kept by the town where she was acquitted, at the rate of half-a-crown a week, paid by the parish to which she belonged. But behold! in the period betwixt the two assizes Sir John Long and his farmers had mustered courage enough to petition that this witch should be sent back to them in all her terrors, because they could support her among them at a shilling a week cheaper than they were obliged to pay to the town for her maintenance. In a subsequent trial before Lord Chief justice North himself, that judge detected one of those practices which, it is to be feared, were too common at the time, when witnesses found their advantage in feigning themselves bewitched. A woman, supposed to be the victim of the male sorcerer at the bar, vomited pins in quantities, and those straight, differing from the crooked pins usually produced at such times, and less easily concealed in the mouth. The judge, however, discovered, by cross-examining a candid witness, that in counterfeiting her fits of convulsion the woman sunk her head on her breast, so as to take up with her lips the pins which she had placed ready in her stomacher. The man was acquitted, of course. A frightful old hag, who was present, distinguished herself so much by her benedictions on the judge, that he asked the cause of the peculiar interest which she took in the acquittal. “ Twenty years ago,” said the poor woman, “ they would have hanged me for a witch, but could not; and now, but for your lordship, they would have murdered my innocent

took the law into their own hands. and. the sentinel upon the jail where she was confined avowed ” that he saw a scroll of paper creep from under the prison-door.” Even Addison himself ventured no farther in his incredulity respecting this crime than to contend that although witchcraft might and did exist.”\ * Such scenes happened frequently on the assizes. her cap torn off. “I have heard from the mouth of both. The following instance of such illegal and inhuman proceedings occurred at Oakly. We may see that Reresby. sunk down in a deeper shade upon the ignorant and lowest classes of society in proportion as the higher regions were purified from its influence. like the excellent Sir Roger de Coverley. But the ancient superstition. notwithstanding. retained a private share in the terror with which their tenants. proceeds to tell us that. There was one woman. and to conciliate the good-will of her neighbours. had not as yet ” plucked the old woman out of his heart. at once. as he thought. by allowing them to duck her. after an account of a poor woman tried for a witch at York in 1686 and acquitted. 1707. so interesting to vulgar credulity. The experiment was made three times with the same effect. were more enraged against witches when their passions were once excited in proportion to the lenity exercised towards the objects of their indignation by those who administered the laws. and all her apparel searched for pins. for there is an idea that a single pin spoils the operation of the charm. and then change itself first into a monkey and then into a turkey. though her head remained under water. and proceeding upon such evidence as Hopkins would have had recourse to. near Bedford.” says Sir John. which the under-keeper confirmed. as usual. being under an imputation of witchcraft. including the ignorant of every class. This is believed to be the last execution of the kind in England under form of judicial sentence. Several cases occurred in which the mob. Unhappily for the poor woman. like sediment clearing itself from water. impressed with a conviction of the guilt of some destitute old creatures. on their own confession. a statesman and a soldier. and Temperance Lloyd were hanged at Exeter for witchcraft. The populace. while country gentlemen. and retainers regarded some old Moll White. This. Mary Trembles. As late as 1682 three unhappy women named Susan Edwards. her body floated. The parish officers so far consented to their humane experiment as to promise the poor woman a guinea if she should clear herself by sinking. who. her thumbs and great toes were bound together. She was then dragged through the river Ouse by a rope tied round her middle. ascertained their criminality and administered the deserved punishment. The unfortunate object was tied up in a wet sheet. in their own apprehension. on 12th July. and now leave it to be believed or disbelieved as the reader may be inclined.son. there was no such thing as a modern instance competently proved. servants. who put the hounds at fault and ravaged the fields with hail and hurricanes. Sir John Reresby. very properly. was desirous to escape from so foul a suspicion. upwards of sixty years of age. The .

led to the final abolition of the statute of James I. The reasoning was received as conclusive. was condemned and hanged. But many of the mob counted her acquittal irregular. or the like. which they barricaded. reserving for such as should pretend to the skill of fortune-tellers. and abused those who were putting. an honest fellow for ridding the parish of an accursed witch. as the more authentic species of trial. that odious law.cry to hang or drown the witch then became general. The woman was then weighed against a church Bible of twelve pounds jockey weight. to protect them in the manner they intended. Luckily one of the mob themselves at length suggested the additional experiment of weighing the witch against the church Bible. by the 9th George II. This abominable murder was committed July 30. and as she was considerably preponderant. namely. and hardly forbore blows. as affording countenance for such brutal proceedings. They were unable. named Osborne. so long the object of horror to all ancient and poverty-stricken females in the kingdom. Three men were tried for their share in this inhuman action. 1751 The repetitition of such horrors. cap. however. was abrogated. 5. and exposed himself to rough usage for doing so. the more readily as it promised a new species of amusement. A single humane bystander took her part. discoverers of stolen goods. Only one of them. An aged pauper. When he came to execution. and requested money for the sport he had shown them ! The life of the other victim was with great difficulty saved. which had a very different conclusion. named Colley. the punishment of the correctionhouse. stood at a distance. The mob forced the door. the yet un-abolished statute of James I Accordingly. which indeed they had expressed in a sort of proclamation. as due to rogues and vagabonds. went among the spectators. in Staffordshire. was traced by the legislature to its source. endeavoured to oppose their purpose by securing the unhappy couple in the vestry-room. fell under the suspicion of the mob on account of supposed witchcraft. supporting the proposal by the staggering argument that the Scripture. The overseers of the poor. being the work of God himself. they said. with ineffable brutality. who resided near Tring. At length a similar piece of inhumanity. A brute in human form. understanding that the rabble entertained a purpose of swimming these infirm creatures. who had superintended the murder. and. to death. was dismissed with honour. the rabble. and his wife. Since that period witchcraft has been little heard of in England. The friend of humanity caught at this means of escape. and as she lay half-dead on the bank they loaded the wretch with reproaches. and would have had the poor dame drowned or hanged on the result of her ducking. instead of crowding round the gallows as usual. and assigned its punishment — yet such . must outweigh necessarily all the operations or vassals of the devil. and all criminal procedure on the subject of sorcery or witchcraft discharged in future through-out Great Britain. and although the belief in its existence has in remote places survived the law that recognised the evidence of the crime. the proneness of the people to so cruel and heart-searing a superstition. seized the accused. continued dragging the wretches through a pool of water till the woman lost her life.

Mr. Only a brief account can be here given of the dreadful hallucination under wich colonists of that province were for a time deluded and oppressed by a strange contagious terror. even by its own excess. but as combined with sorcerers and witches to inflict death and torture upon children and others. and should so wild a thing be attempted in the present day. but entertained a proneness to believe in supernatural and direct personal intercourse between the devil and his vassals. scolded the accuser. and how suddenly and singularly it was cured. as is well known. Nothing occurred in that kingdom which recommended its being formally annulled. were Quakers. would now be permitted to lie upon it. though happily without loss of life. The Calvinists brought with them the same zeal for religion and strict morality which everywhere distinguished them. New England. the elder Goodwin. and choleric old Irishwoman. Hone's ” Popular Amusements. were seized with such strange diseases that all their . Some rare instances have occurred of attempts similar to that for which Colley suffered. was peopled mainly by emigrants who had been disgusted with the government of Charles I. it is certain. testy. and that to other dangers and horrors with which they were surrounded. The first case which I observe was that of four children of a person called John Goodwin. in church and state. it would be sufficient to quote certain extraordinary occurrences in New England. If anything were wanted to confirm the general proposition that the epidemic terror of witchcraft increases and becomes general in proportion to the increase of prosecutions against witches. not merely as the Evil Principle tempting human nature to sin. her sister and two brothers. In a country imperfectly cultivated. it was natural that a disposition to superstition should rather gain than lose ground. fewer in number and less influential from their fortune. others.faith is gradually becoming forgotten since the rabble have been deprived of all pretext to awaken it by their own riotous proceedings. and I observe one is preserved in that curious register of knowledge. an ignorant. the colonists should have added fears of the devil. as we have endeavoured to show. had quarrelled with the laundress of the family about some linen which was amissing. and where the partially improved spots were embosomed in inaccessible forests. Many of the more wealthy settlers were Presbyterians and Calvinists. The eldest.” from which it appears that as late as the end of last century this brutality was practised. Anabaptists. Unfortunately. The mother of the laundress. or members of the other sects who were included under the general name of Independents. inhabited by numerous tribes of savages. their brethren in Europe had from the beginning been peculiarly subject. and thus endangering our salvation. they were not wise according to their zeal. and shortly after. The Irish statute against witchcraft still exists. a girl. a mason. but is too strong evidence of the imaginary character of this hideous disorder to be altogether suppressed. an error to which. no procedure. previous to the great Civil War. as it would seem. but it is considered as obsolete.

Their limbs were curiously contorted. “ Reasons were given for this. who hardly could speak the English language. not on the meaning of the words. or . merry as well as melancholy fits. mimicked with dexterity and agility the motions of the animal pacing. They had violent convulsions. she appears to have treated the poor divine with a species of sweetness and attention. in which their jaws snapped with the force of a spring-trap set for vermin. Pluck. alleging that she was in presence with them adding to their torments. On such occasions she made a spring upwards. and to those who had a taste for the marvellous. whose name was Glover. and the eldest in particular continued all the external signs of witchcraft and possession. like a child on the nurse's knee. but there were some words which she had forgotten. and read the portions of Scripture which it contains without difficulty or impediment. others were more strictly personal. She could look on a Church of England Prayer-book. and when she was pulled into it by force. This singular species of flattery was designed to captivate the clergyman through his professional opinions.” says the simple minister. “ that seem more kind than true. but when she cantered in this manner upstairs. and galloping. trotting. but a book written against the poor inoffensive Friends the devil would not allow his victim to touch. She used to break in upon him at his studies to importune him to come downstairs. at another time their necks were so flexible and supple that it seemed the bone was dissolved. Catch. but the which possessed her threw her into fits if she attempted to read the same Scriptures from the Bible. but the arrangement of the page. and accordingly bear in their very front the character of studied and voluntary imposture. seemed entirely dislocated and displaced. as if the awe which it is supposed the fiends entertain for Holy Writ depended. Smack. Amid these distortions. But the children of Goodwin found the trade they were engaged in to be too profitable to be laid aside. The young woman. and Company. like her.” Shortly after this. The miserable Irishwoman. still seated on her chair. repeated her Pater Noster and Ave Maria like a good Catholic. which gave him greater embarrassment than her former violence. and then. and the type in which they were printed. and stand up as a rational being. and thus advantaged doubtless the kingdom of Satan by the interruption of his pursuits. acting. as was supposed. used to become quite well. She was therefore supposed to be unable to pronounce the whole consistently and correctly. They conducted themselves as those supposed to suffer under maladies created by such influence were accustomed to do. and had. she affected inability to enter the clergyman's study. they cried out against the poor old woman. They stiffened their necks so hard at one time that the joints could not be moved. and condemned and executed accordingly. Some of these were excellently calculated to flatter the self-opinion and prejudices of the Calvinist ministers by whom she was attended.neighbours concluded they were bewitched. under the influence of the devil. as if to mount her horse. At length the Goodwins were. read a Quaker treatise with ease and apparent satisfaction. The afflicted damsel seems to have been somewhat of the humour of the Inamorata of Messrs. She often imagined that her attendant spirits brought her a handsome pony to ride off with them to their rendezvous.

when such evidence was admitted as incontrovertible. But the example bad been given and caught. The dying man. drew themselves under suspicion. in the mortal agony. A poor dog was also hanged as having been alleged to be busy in this infernal persecution. their limbs racked. their throats choked. the afflicted began to see the spectral appearances of persons of higher condition and of irreproachable lives. These spectres were generally represented as offering their victims a book. that the real persons of the accused were not there present. thrust out his tongue. A child of five years old was indicted by some of tile afflicted. Eight persons were condemned besides those who had actually suffered. thorns were stuck into their flesh. By this means nineteen men and women were executed. The more that suffered the greater became the number of afflicted persons. but presently. and appealed to the mark of little teeth on their bodies. and added his own eloquence to move the afflicted persons to consent. which the sheriff crammed with his cane back again into his mouth. and pins were ejected from their stomachs. endeavouring. and the wider and the more numerous were the denunciations against supposed witches. became generally fatal. under a conscientious wish to do justly. . while several were executed. cured. since their evidence could not be redargued. as we have said elsewhere. encouraged by the discovery of these poor Indians' guilt.appeared to be. and everything rested upon the assumption that the afflicted persons were telling the truth. says Mather. who fell under an affliction similar to that of the Goodwins. where they stated it had bitten them. and the same sort of spectral evidence being received which had occasioned the condemnation of the Indian woman Titu. as seems natural enough. but not till many lives had been sacrificed. and hoping they might thus expel from the colony the authors of such practices. Against this species of evidence no alibi could be offered. a daughter and niece of Mr. some of whom were arrested. to show how superstition can steel the heart of a man against the misery of his fellow-creature. Parvis. and were hanged. These gross insults on common reason occasioned a revulsion in public feeling. which must yet be told. On this horrible occasion a circumstance took place disgusting to humanity. servants of the family. and the blood of poor Dame Glover. and was accordingly pressed to death according to the old law. the poor and miserable alone were involved. as they were termed. because it was admitted. the historian. by some spell of their own. who imagined they saw this juvenile wizard active in tormenting them. but the cases of witchcraft and possession increased as if they were transmitted by contagion. the minister of Salem. Their mouths were stopped. At first. Sometimes the devil appeared in person. to discover by whom the fatal charm had been imposed on their master's children. The afflicted persons failed not to see the spectres. on signing which they would be freed from their torments. who refused to plead. This scene opened by the illness of two girls. was to be the forerunner of new atrocities and fearfully more general follies. besides a stout-hearted man named Cory. which had been the introduction to this tale of a hobby-horse. some made their escape. The judges and juries persevered. of the persons by whom they were tormented. They acted. The accused were of all ages. An Indian and his wife.

For still the afflicted complained of being tormented by new objects as the former were removed. in whose family the disturbance had began and who. men found that no rank or condition could save them from the danger of this horrible accusation if they continued to encourage the witnesses in such an unlimited course as had hitherto been granted to them. under the strong suspicion that part of it at least had been innocently and unjustly sacrificed. the settlers awoke as from a dream. the number of whom was very extraordinary. and the execution of some made way to the apprehension of others. Parvis. and for five years there was no such molestation among us. and the author we have just quoted thus records the result : — ” When this prosecution ceased. Influenced by these reflections. and the number of confessions increasing did but increase the number of the accused. during the rest of his life. and feared that Satan. The accused were generally quiet. or other circumstances exclusive of their free will. and was the more readily listened to on that account. and the voice of the public. so that some of those that were concerned grew amazed at the number and condition of those that were accused. a man of the most importance in the colony. In Mather's own language. or the generation of the kingdom of God would fall under condemnation. Men began then to ask whether the devil might not artfully deceive the afflicted into the accusation of good and innocent persons by presenting witches and fiends in the resemblance of blameless persons. Even the barbarous Indians were struck with wonder at the . observed. on the other hand. was the person by whom it was most fiercely driven on in the commencement. the anniversary of the first execution as a day of solemn fast and humiliation for his own share in the transaction. by his wiles.”* The prosecutions were therefore suddenly stopped. had enwrapped innocent persons under the imputation of that crime. as engaged in the tormenting of their diseased country-folk. asserting them to have been made under fear of torture. and one of the judges. as was evidently seen. to leave his settlement amongst them. Such of the accused as had confessed the acts of witchcraft imputed to them generally denied and retracted their confessions. influence of persuasion. “ experience showed that the more were apprehended the more were still afflicted by Satan. Besides. the condemned pardoned. were pardoned amongst others. the prisoners dismissed.and no less than two hundred were in prison and under examination. and at last. which had so lately demanded vengeance on all who were suspected of sorcery. Several of the judges and jurors concerned in the sentence of those who were executed published their penitence for their rashness in convicting these unfortunate persons. and even those who had confessed. there must be a stop put. began now.” To this it must be added that the congregation of Salem compelled Mr. they alleged. the Lord so chained up Satan that the afflicted grew presently well. to lament the effusion of blood. which we use as that of a man deeply convinced of the reality of the crime. This argument was by no means inconsistent with the belief in witchcraft.

on the whole. *Webster on Witchcraft.” book vi. * Hutchison on Witchcraft. 237. The zealous author. lxxxii. in Answer to several Queries lately delivered to the judge of Assize for the County of Norfolk. however. LETTER IX. * See the account of Sir T. had the times been calm. and to avoid future annoyance and persecution — Examination by Pricking — The Mode of judicial Procedure against Witches. But. like their Sovereign. and now published by Matthew Hopkins.” * Of Parliament. the matter was ended too abruptly. Its full title is. p. and Rites performed to accomplish their purpose — Trial of Margaret Barclay in 1618 — Case of Major Weir — Sir John Clerk among the first who declined acting as Commissioner on the Trial of a Witch — Paisley and Pittenweem Witches — A Prosecution in Caithness prevented by the Interference of the King's Advocate in 1718 — The Last Sentence of Death for Witchcraft . in despair. and subsisted to a later period.infatuation of the English colonists on this occasion. Scottish Trials — Earl of Mar — Lady Glammis — William Barton — Witches of Auldearne — Their Rites and Charms — Their Transformation into Hares — Satan's Severity towards them — Their Crimes — Sir George Mackenzie's Opinion of Witchcraft — Instances of Confessions made by the Accused. to encourage Witch — Prosecutions — Case of Bessie Graham — Supposed Conspiracy to Shipwreck James in his Voyage to Denmark — Meetings of the Witches. opened a door to Accusers. p. * Hutchison's “Essay on Witchcraft. and nature of the Evidence admissible.” p. 166. as they remarked. by the celebrated collector Mr. as believed in Scotland.” part ii. “ The Discovery of Witches. and drew disadvantageous comparisons between them and the French. which was bought at Mr. and thinks. * Glanville's ” Collection of Relations. must next claim our attention. Browne in No. * “Hudibras. p. at the Angel.” p. and is now in the author's possession. regrets the general gaol-delivery on the score of sorcery. * Mather's “Magnalia. Royston. XIV. than run the risk of destroying the innocent. 1647. edition 1677. 60. and that. Printed for R.” * Roger North's “Life of Lord-Keeper Guilford. Lort's sale.'s time led them. the temper of the times considered.” The system of witchcraft. he admits candidly that it is better to act moderately in matters capital. 162. as it is different in some respects from that of England. 278. and was prosecuted with much more severity. and to let the guilty escape.” “Memoirs of Sir John Reresby. of the ” Family Library” (“ Lives of British Physicians"). canto 3. the case might have required a farther investigation. Bindley. among whom. Witchfinder. * This reproach is noticed in a very rare tract. “ the Great Spirit sends no witches. chap. in Inn Lane. for the Benefit of the whole Kingdom. and left the Accused no chance of escape — The Superstition of the Scottish Clergy in King James VI.

of which Lady Glammis's brother. related from the Author's own knowledge. although the want of the justiciary records of that period leaves us in uncertainty. he brought his gallant. The vassals are usually induced to sell themselves at a small price to the Author of Ill. her second husband. who. still more. as we have already noticed. and repeated examples were supplied by the annals of sanguinary executions on this sad accusation. indeed. were burnt at Edinburgh. rather than the sorcery. mingled with an accusation of political nature. a fortune of no less than fifteen pounds. which. rather than as witches. and. when he was pleased to enact the female on a similar occasion. the Earl of Angus. brought the culprits to their fate. which is another early instance of Demonology in Scottish history. Previous to this lady's execution there would appear to have been but few prosecuted to death on the score of witchcraft. But in the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth centuries. stood accused of attempting James's life by poison. when such charges grew general over Europe. to give a colour to the Earl's guilt. and are described as volæ . This was Janet Douglas. one William Barton. and several others. was the bead. The Earl of Mar. very inexplicitly stated. were sometimes of a peculiar character. a certain monotony in most tales of the kind. whether he died by the agency of a gang of witches. On the contrary. though Shakspeare a stamped the latter character indelibly upon them. She died much pitied by the people. or warlocks. her kindred and very name being so obnoxious to the King. which. which took place so late as 1800. the weird-sisters. with her son. On such a charge. immediately after which catastrophe twelve women of obscure rank and three or four wizards. brother of James III. who inflicted torments upon an image made in his name. In the tale of Macbeth.pronounced in Scotland in 1722 — Remains of the Witch Superstition — Case of supposed Witchcraft. drives a very hard bargain. Lady Glammis. In the year 1537 a noble matron fell a victim to a similar charge. the unhappy Mar was bled to death in his own lodgings without either trial or conviction. of Scotland. who seem to have thought the articles against her forged for the purpose of taking her life. having commonly to do with women. with a view to the restoration of the Douglas family. who. There is. as they were termed. fell under the king's suspicion for consulting wit witches and sorcerers how to shorten the king's days. for the sake of compassing his death. cases of the kind occurred very often in Scotland. One of the earliest real cases of importance founded upon witchcraft was. appeared to the usurper in a dream. or sibyls. Our acquaintance with the slender foundation on which Boetius and Buchanan reared the early part of their histories may greatly incline us to doubt whether a king named Duffus ever reigned in Scotland. who were the original prophetesses. even supposing it to . like those of the Duchess of Gloucester and others in the sister country. FOR many years the Scottish nation had been remarkable for a credulous belief in witchcraft. and.

In observing on Satan's conduct in this matter. and feasted on the provisions they found there. The witches of Auldearne. Isobel Gowdie's confession. they made a pretence of ploughing it with a yoke of paddocks. on the contrary. They used to bash the flesh of an unchristened child. and the covine attended on the operation. of coin. the sock and coulter were made out of a riglen's horn. saying or singing — “We put this intill this hame. With the sheep and nolt into the fauld. as to the description of Satan's Domdaniel. were so numerous. to each of which were appointed two officers. and possessed themselves of the carcases (of unchristened infants in particular). As these witches were the countrywomen of the weird sisters in Macbeth. praying the devil to transfer to them the fruit of the ground so traversed. but. Neither did he pass false coin on this occasion. The plough-harness and soams were of quicken grass. which was held by the devil himself. who felt themselves insulted by the preference. like Tam o'Shanter's Nannie. and place it in the house of those whom they devoted to destruction in body or goods. and of the poetry by which they were accompanied and enforced. In our lord the Devil's name. I have already noticed (page 136). was a very liberal endowment compared with his niggardly conduct towards the fair sex on such an occasion. and the forms of . according to this penitent. the reader may be desirous to bear some of their spells. already mentioned. and treated with particular attention. and was usually. The witches' sports. I look upon this as one of the most severe reflections on our forefathers' poverty which is extant. and such other mansions as were not fenced against them by vigil and prayer. or covines . and leave the proprietors nothing but thistles and briars. as they were termed. whose joints and members they used in their magic unguents and salves. he might find few men or women capable of resisting his munificence. The first hands that handle thee. Of all the rest of the little store!” Metamorphoses were. One of these was called the Maiden of the Covine. as there are other passages not very edifying. mixed with that of dogs and sheep. They entered the house of the Earl of Murray himself. very common among them. is extremely minute. generously gave Burton a merk. the northern superstition agrees with that of England. that they were told off into squads. Master George Sinclair observes that it is fortunate the Enemy is but seldom permitted to bribe so high (as £15 Scots). and add some more fanciful circumstances than occur in the general case. In many of the Scottish witches' trials. and the Sabbath which he there celebrates. and some part of it at least may be quoted. which greatly provoked the spite of the old bags. Burn'd and scalded may they be! We will destroy houses and hald. When they desired to secure for their own use the crop of some neighbour. But some of the confessions depart from the monotony of repetition. with their elfin archery. they dug up graves.* When assembled. These foul creatures drew the plough. whom Satan placed beside himself. And little sall come to the fore. for were this the case. according to Isobel.have been the Scottish denomination. to keep the fifteen pounds whole. a girl of personal attractions.

are better imagined at least than those which Hopkins contrived for the imps which he discovered — such as Pyewacket. and beat and buffeted them without mercy or discretion. in Auldearne. could never defend himself save with tears. seagreen. They were usually distinguished by their liveries. which were sad-dun. Margaret Wilson. The others chiefly took refuge in crying “Pity ! mercy !” and such like. upon such occasions the Fiend rushed on them like a schoolmaster who surprises his pupils in delict. were on such occasions assumed. but had the misfortune to meet Peter Papley of Killhill's servants going to labour. with some message to her neighbours. and Rorie. Sack-and-Sugar. would ” defend herself finely. and entreaties for mercy.” But the hounds came in and took the other side of the chest. an old Scandinavian Duerg probably. and the witches were sometimes bitten by the dogs. The ceremonial of the Sabbath meetings was very strict. But none had been killed on such occasions.” says Isobel. and gaining time to say the disenchanting rhyme: — “Hare. so that Isobel only escaped by getting into another house. In the hare shape Isobel herself had a bad adventure. the weird sisters. had more of the spirit which animated the old dame of Kellyburn Braes. and other animals. hare. and . These were Robert the Jakis. Sometimes. often fell under his lord's displeasure for neglect of duty. cats. who served the witches. she said. “ run a very long time. the Roaring Lion. There were attendant devils and imps.” and make her hands save her head. while Satan kept beating them with wool cards and other sharp scourges. but being hard pressed. hares. But I shall be a woman even now — Hare. Swein. having his hounds with them. in Earlseat. were not uncommon. Hendrie Craig. These names. irreverently spoke of their sovereign by the name of Black John. hare. while others had a diabolical sound. and ” belled the cat” with the devil stoutly. Thomas the Feary. some of which might belong to humanity. grass-green. being weak and simple. saying. God send thee care ! I am in a hare's likeness now. of which the marks remained after their restoration to human shape. and the title of Lord when addressed by them. MacKeeler. The witches were taught to call these imps by names.crows. the door being open. Saunders the Red Reaver. Bessie Wilson could also speak very crustily with her tongue. God send thee care!” Such accidents. was forced to take to my own house. when whispering amongst themselves. however. Wait-upon-Herself. Thief of Hell. The hounds sprung on the disguised witch. and there took refuge behind a chest. without attending to their entreaties or complaints. The Foul Fiend was very rigid in exacting the most ceremonious attention from his votaries. but some of the women.” Then might be seen the various tempers of those whom he commanded. and yellow. Peck-in-the-Crown. odd and uncouth enough. “ I ken weel eneugh what you are saying of me. “ and I. Alexander Elder. cries. and. according to Isobel Gowdie's confession. News. Vinegar-Tom. She had been sent by the devil to Auldearne in that favourite disguise. Robert the Rule. after the old Scottish manner.

were I to be drawn asunder by wild horses. and containing no variety or contradiction in its details. “ to be seated here at ease and unharmed. For long dwining and ill heal. of examination. They devoted the male children of this gentleman (of the well-known family of Gordon of Park. clergymen. perhaps guide a medical person of judgement and experience. Bessie Hay's nickname was Able-and-Stout. and Jane Mairten.” Such was the singular confession of Isobel Gowdie. Isobel took upon herself. and in his own great name. To burn them up stook and stour. made voluntarily. she seems to have been perfectly conscious of the perilous consequence of her disclosures to her own person. was called Pickle-nearest-the-Wind. Elspet Nishe's was Bessie Bald. her compeer. have operated on Isobel Gowdie. endeavoured to escape from the charge of witchcraft by admitting an intercourse with the fairy people. as they are called. was called Ower-the-Dike-with-it. was Throw-the-Cornyard. being fond of mimicking the forms of the Christian church. but rather to be stretched on an iron rack: nor can my crimes be atoned for. judicially authenticated by the subscription of the notary. the broad vulgarity of which epithets shows what a flat imagination he brought to support his impudent fictions. The proud-stomached Margaret Wilson. for which she thanks God in her confession.* She had herself the temerity to shoot at the Laird of Park as he was riding through a ford. placing at the same time in the fire figures composed of clay mixed with paste. The devil. as already mentioned. the death of sundry persons shot with elf-arrows. “ I do not deserve. and without compulsion of any kind. even from Satan himself. as we have seen. adhered to after their separate diets. I presume) to wasting illness. it would seem. that at the time she received a great cuff from Bessie Hay for her awkwardness. Whatever might be her state of mind in other respects. to represent the object: — ” We put this water amongst this meal. We put it in into the fire. to. and imputed to her sisters. as throwing upon the rites and ceremonies of the Scottish witches a light which we seek in vain elsewhere. an excuse which was never admitted as relevant. who scorned to take a blow unrepaid. Her case is interesting.” It only remains to suppose that this wretched creature was under the dominion of some peculiar species of lunacy. but missed him through the influence of the running stream. because they had omitted to bless themselves as the aerial flight of the hags swept past them. perhaps. . Like any stikkle § in a kiln. which a full perusal of her confession might. That they be burned with our will. the Maiden of the Covine. and adds. used to rebaptize the witches with their blood. who commanded the fair sisterhood. Other unfortunate persons were betrayed to their own reproof by other means than the derangement of mind which seems to.” says she. by the following lines. Some.Grizell Greedigut. Bessie Wilson. and gentlemen present.

condemning them for life to a state of necessity. and the little advantage which he himself would gain by doing so. But. for no person thereafter would either give her meat or lodging. or else women. of all others the most simple. after he had confessed witchcraft. that most of all that ever were. when they are defamed. “ ex certissima scientia . who asked seriously. being able to enlist such numbers of recruits. and for fear of which they dare not retract it. she knew she would starve. and many mistake their own fears and apprehensions for witchcraft. being asked how he saw the devil. told me under secresie. however painful. “ Most of these poor creatures are tortured by their keepers. ' Like flies dancing about the candle.Others were subjected to cruel tortures. should be tried for a crime of all others the most mysterious. and this usage was the ground of all their confession. and when men are confounded with fear and apprehension. if a woman might be a witch and not know it? And it is dangerous that persons. of which I shall give two instances. This learned author gives us an instance how these unfortunate creatures might be reduced to confession by the very infamy which the accusation cast upon them. and suspicion. that she had not confest because she was guilty. 3rdly. says Mackenzie. “ I went when I was a justice-deput to examine some women who had confessed judicially. yet the judge should be jealous of it. without riches to bestow. the actors being the only witnesses. These poor creatures. On this subject the celebrated Sir George Mackenzie. was of opinion that. who. who understand not the nature of what they are accused of. in his capacity of Lord Advocate. and one of them. 4thly.” as he is termed by Dryden. misery. but being a poor creature who wrought for her meat. He first insists on the great improbability of the fiend. such as any person of reputation would willingly exchange for a short death. and being defamed for a witch. not doubting the existence of the crime. and avowedly subjected to a higher power.' Another. had often occasion to conduct witch-trials. was a silly creature. on account of its very horror. that hardly wiser and more serious people than they would escape distraction. by which our ancestors thought the guilty might be brought to confession. One. it required the clearest and most strict probation. they will imagine things the most ridiculous and absurd ” of which instances are given. of a poor weaver who. think it their duty to vex and torment poor prisoners delivered up to them as rebels to heaven and enemies to men. taken were tormented in this manner. “ the persons ordinarily accused of this crime are poor ignorant men. either of which wants is enough to disarm the strongest reason. being persuaded they do God good service. and that all men would beat her and .” 5thly. and which was sure to follow. “ that noble wit of Scotland. who. and so starved for want of meat and drink. 2dly. has some most judicious reflections which we shall endeavour to abstract as the result of the experience of one who. and who. become so confounded with fear and the close prison in which they are kept. and I know” (continues Sir George). as that which did at first elicit the confession. made answer. of a woman. and albeit the poor miscreants cannot prove this usage. but which far more frequently compelled the innocent to bear evidence against themselves. when she was accused.

so it may be to all a demonstration of Satan's subtlety. and third prayer. given herself up as guilty. for the destruction of her own life. however. it was charged home upon her by the ministers. I declare I am as free of witchcraft as any child. and choosing rather to die than live. after she was said to be his servant. She therefore sent for the minister of the town. or ever coming in credit again. and entreated to be put to death with the others who bad been appointed to suffer upon the next Monday. and therefore she desired to die. but being delated by a malicious woman. second. whereupon she wept most bitterly. Her companions in prison were adjudged to die. partly by tempting many to presumption. And really ministers are oft times indiscreet in their zeal to have poor creatures to confess in this. We give the result in the minister's words: — “ Therefore much pains was taken on her by ministers and others on Saturday. and I recommend to judges that the wisest ministers should be sent to them. know that I am now to die as a witch by my own confession. and Monday morning. Yet she stiffly adhered to what she had said. of the guilt of my blood. to destroy both her soul and body. and with a loud voice cried out. through the temptation of the devil I made up that confession on purpose to destroy my own life. by a confession as full as theirs. Sunday. had adopted a strong persuasion that this confession was made up in the pride of her heart. I take it wholly upon myself — my blood be upon my own head. and had no foundation in truth. whose design is stilt to destroy all. and that therefore she desired to be out of the world. and not to take her blood upon her own head. that she might resile from that confession which was suspected to be but a temptation of the devil.hound dogs at her. being weary of it. The clergyman.'-and so died. and cried always to be put away with the rest. and as I must make answer to the God of Heaven presently. Another told me that she was afraid the devil would challenge a right to her. and would haunt her. she was found guilty and condemned to die with the rest that same clay. are attested by an eye and ear witness who is yet alive. as it did then astonish all the spectators. Whereupon. and those who are sent should be cautious in this particular. and upon her knees called God to witness to what she said. on Monday morning. as the minister said. and then perceiving that there remained no more but to rise and go to the stake. being called before the judges. and confessing before them what she had said. and she was charged before the Lord to declare the truth. and put in prison under the name of a witch. that there was just ground of jealousy that her confession was not sincere. I may quote the case of a woman in Lauder jail. and seeing no ground of hope of my coming out of prison. and she too had. These things to be of truth. none of which could restrain themselves from tears . as well as others. she lifted tip her body.”* As a corollary to this affecting story. and some others to despair. who lay there with other females on a charge of witchcraft. disowned by my husband and friends. 'Now all you that see me this day. she remained silent during the first. yea. a faithful minister of the . Being carried forth to the place of execution. when he was desiring her to confess. Which lamentable story. and I free all men especially the ministers and magistrates.

and a slight wound. One celebrated mode of detecting witches and torturing them at the same time.” * It is strange the inference does not seem to have been deduced. were it worth while to dwell on a subject so ridiculous. the common pricker. They were pins of three inches in length. were increased by the too great readiness of subordinate judges to interfere in matters which were. that at the trial of Janet Peaston of Dalkeith the magistrates and ministers of that market town caused John Kincaid of Tranent. the blood is apt to return to the heart. although Sir George Mackenzie stigmatises it as a horrid imposture. the smallest and most ignorant baron of a rude territory. which was hollow for the purpose. on pretence of discovering the devil's stigma. and which appeared indeed to be so. ” who found two marks of what he called the devil's making. as we have already seen. beyond their jurisdiction. and brutal practice began to be called by its right name. in which examinations. to exercise his craft upon her. and such personal insults. nor did they (the marks) bleed when they were taken out again. But. was in Scotland reduced to a trade. sheathed in the upper. the same might have been the case in many other instances. This species of search. But. Fountainhall has recorded that in 1678 the Privy Council received the complaint of a poor woman who had been abused by a country magistrate and one of those impostors called prickers. I observe in the Collections of Mr. The Supreme Court of Justiciary was that in which the cause properly and exclusively ought to have been tried.* From this and other instances it appears that the predominance of the superstition of witchcraft. the practice of the infamous Hopkins. the pettiest bailie in the most trifling. to draw forth confession. and treated the pricker as a common cheat. burgh. there is also room to believe that the professed prickers used a pin the point or lower part of which was. and the proneness to persecute those accused of such practices in Scotland. They expressed high displeasure against the presumption of the parties complained against. she pointed to a part of her body distant from the real place. as with a pin. In the latter end of the seventeenth century this childish. which was said to be inflicted by him upon all his vassals. and that which appeared to enter the body did not pierce it at all.” Besides the fact that the persons of old people especially sometimes contain spots void of sensibility.gospel. as if in exercise of a lawful calling. that as one woman out of very despair renounced her own life. took it on him to arrest. or mark. was by running pins into their body. indecent. for she could not feel the pin when it was put into either of the said marks. imprison. in fact. and the young witchfinder was allowed to torture the accused party. we might recollect that in so terrible an agony of shame as is likely to convulse a human being under such a trial. in practice. on being pressed down. may be inflicted without being followed by blood. Pitcairn. and to be insensible to pain. wherein the confessions of the accused constituted the principal if not sole evidence of the guilt. the accused suffered the . and when she was asked where she thought the pins were put in. each inferior judge in the country. and examine.

and peculiarly liable to be affected by the clamour of the neighbourhood againt the delinquent. One summer's day. secondly. “ Sandie. and curing the diseases of man and beast by spells and charms. Thus no creature was secure against the malice or folly of some defamatory accusation. and allegations of danger threatened and mischief ensuing were admitted. whose real name was Alexander Hunter. were all that were transmitted to the Privy Council. “ What would you think if the devil raise a whirlwind. though the menaces had not come from the accused party herself. while the miserable prisoner was blown into a pool of water. though of the meanest denomination. uttered by the supposed witch. following close upon a threat. who were to direct the future mode of procedure. though not likely. was cleaning his gun. one of a party of stout burghers of Dalkeith appointed to guard an old woman called Christian Wilson from that town to Niddrie. There is some ground to hope that this extraordinary evidence was not admitted upon the trial. The copies of these examinations. But. there seems no good reason why the trial of witches. On Ith June. on their journey to Niddrie the party actually were assailed by a sudden gust of wind (not a very uncommon event in that climate). that is to say.grossest injustice.” addressing him thus roundly. you have too long followed my trade without . if there was a timid or superstitious judge. as it is well known that such a commission could not be granted in a case of murder in the county where the crime was charged. which it had pleased the devil to confer upon him. who probably saw his courage was not entirely constant. and take her from you on the road tomorrow ?” Sure enough. from their education. and with difficulty raised again. the devil appeared to him in shape of a grave “ Mediciner. as John Stewart. though he was more generally known by the nickname of Hatteraick. lost an opportunity of destroying a witch. was supposed necessarily to be in consequence of the menaces of the accused. et malum secutum — mischief. should not have been uniformly tried by a court whose rank and condition secured them from the suspicion of partiality. Sometimes this vague species of evidence loosely adduced. There is a story told of an old wizard. which. to be found within the district. Neither must it be forgotten that the proof led in support of the prosecution was of a kind very unusual in jurisprudence. though it might be attributed to the most natural course of events. and it was the consequence that such commissioners very seldom. or wish of revenge. or the evidence of inhabile witnesses. But our ancestors arranged it otherwise. on a green hill-side. so liable to excite the passions. and particularly of the clergymen. made up of extorted confessions. he was slyly questioned by Janet Cocke. The man had for some time adopted the credit of being a conjurer. another confessing witch. to be freed from general prejudice. 1661. The lawyers admitted as evidence what they called damnumm minatum . it was the course of the Privy Council to appoint commissions of the gentlemen of the country. Now. by acquitting the persons brought before them. which scarce permitted the valiant guard to keep their feet.

what have you to do here ?' Whereupon the fellow goes away grumbling. it is worth while to consider what was its real amount. and brought into Edinburgh. You must now enlist with me and become my servant. such was the ignorance of any at that time. giving the rogue fair words. caused the brother to make a disposition to her of all his patrimony. knowing the fellow's prophecies to hold true. to the defrauding of his younger brother. The young man. when some friends after dinner were going to horse. ' You shall dear buy this ere it be long. ' Surely that knave Hatteraick is the cause of his trouble. When Hatteraic came to receive his wages he told the lady. His sister. and flesh. where he supped. commonly called Allers. After supper. Mr. His sister employs the wizard to take off the spell according to his . he met with some persons there that begat a dreadful consternation in him.' says he ' have one of his sarks' (shirts). and the evening being somewhat dark. he would not.' This was damnum minatum . and money by his charms. which for the most part he would never reveal. A young gentleman. which was soon gotten. This was malum secutum . ' I should make him repent of his striking me at the yait lately. and burnt upon the Castlehill. and turned a vagrant fellow like a jockie. call for him in all haste. hearing of it. brother to the lady.” * Now. ' what is this you have done to my brother William ?' ' I told him. What pranks he played with it cannot be known.' She. if Hatteraick was really put to death on such evidence.acknowledging me for a master. and we shall let the Rev. When he came home the servants observed terror and fear in his countenance. and I will teach you your trade better. saying — ' You warlock carle. persuaded the fellow to cure him again He undertook the business. The young gentleman conveyed his friends a far way off. switcht him about the ears. George Sinclair tell the rest of e tale. the Lady Samuelston. through a dark shady place. and probably could not. Whatever house he came to none durst refuse Hatteraick an alms.” Hatteraick consented to the proposal.' She. tell what. and has a fever fit. he was at last apprehended at Dunbar. The beggar grumbles.* gaining meal. and was bound for several days. and was overheard to say.' says he. taking his horse and crossing Tyne water to go home. After that this warlock had abused the country for a long time. and probably in liquor. he rides through a shady piece of a haugh. but shall never return. George. ' Your brother William shall quickly go off the country. rather for his ill than his good. A hot-tempered swaggering young gentleman horsewhips a beggar of ill fame for loitering about the gate of his sister's house. ' Sandie. and promising him his pockful of meal with beef and cheese. seeing him. ' But I must first. as any man would. “After this he grew very famous through the country for is charming and curing of diseases in men and beasts. One day he came to the yait (gate) of Samuelston. riding in the night. and came home that way again. was heard say. but within a short while the gentleman recovered his health. is frightened by. The next day he became distracted.' says she.' When he had come to her.

The sovereign had exhausted his talents of investigation on the subject of witchcraft. of whom the real crime was that she had attracted too great a share. the arrival of a skilful farrier was accounted a special providence to defeat the purpose of Satan. Having thus given some reasons why the prosecutions for witchcraft in Scotland were so numerous and fatal. This natural tendency to comply with the opinions of the sovereign was much augmented by the disposition of the Kirk to the same sentiments. learning the probability of his departure. They applied these principles of belief to the meanest causes. and credit was given to all who acted in defence of the opinions of the reigning prince. we return to the general history of the trials recorded from the reign of James V. a poor girl was to die for witchcraft. an unhesitating belief in what were called by them ” special providences. Besides these particular disadvantages. and here is damnum minatum . We have already said that these venerable persons entertained. and the selfish Lady Samuelston. in a general sense true. The works which remain behind them show. the extreme anxiety which he displayed to penetrate more deeply into mysteries which others had regarded as a very millstone of obscurity. since. Through the reign of Queen Mary these trials for sorcery became numerous. they were peculiarly bound to oppose the incursions of Satan. others of a less pardonable description found means to shelter themselves.profession. to the union of the kingdoms. In one case. And amongst those natural feelings. and that the great Creator is content to execute his purposes by the operation of those laws which influence the general course of nature. Surrounded. A horse falling lame was a snare of the devil to keep the good clergyman from preaching. and the crime was subjected to heavier punishment by the 73rd Act of her 9th Parliament. in the lady's opinion. to which the parties accused of this crime in Scotland were necessarily exposed. But when James VI. but we are authorized to believe that the period of supernatural interference has long passed away.” and this was equalled. et malum secutum . by the snares and . drew still larger attention to the subject. since nothing can happen without the foreknowledge and will of Heaven. committed a fraud which ought to have rendered her evidence inadmissible. their situation was rendered intolerable by the detestation in which they were held by all ranks. both in relation to the judicature by which they were tried and the evidence upon which they were convicted. of the attention of the laird. as they conceived themselves. This was doubtless. The gentry hated them because the diseases and death of their relations and children were often imputed to them. the grossly superstitious vulgar abhorred them with still more perfect dread and loathing. and all legal cause for burning a man to ashes ! The vagrant Hatteraick probably knew something of the wild young man which might soon oblige him to leave the country. we are informed by Mackenzie. by their credulity as to the actual interference of evil spirits in the affairs of this world. the general erroneous belief respecting witchcraft — regarding it indeed as a crime which affected their own order more nearly than others in the state. at least. approached to years of discretion. especially called to the service of heaven. with good faith. Our ancient Scottish divines thought otherwise. among better things.

” This. and the clergyman's own doubts were far from being removed. or the guilt of Bessie Grahame. and how easily the gravest doubts were removed rather than a witch should be left undetected. As they stood on the stair-head behind the door. he thrust a great brass pin up to the head in a wart on the woman's back. it would seem. While the minister was in this doubt. had visited Bessie in her cell. whose opinions were but two strongly on this head in correspondence with the prevailing superstitious of the people. since the minister. nay. they entered into war with the kingdom of Satan. after various conferences. he regarded the overhearing this conversation as the answer of the Deity to his petition. One evening the clergyman. and in the same collection * there occur some observable passages of God's providence to a godly minister in giving him ” full clearness” concerning Bessie Grahame. “ that if he would find out a way for giving the minister full clearness of her guilt.temptations of hell. a fellow named Begg was employed as a skilful pricker. in respect of the strong delusion under which they laboured. Although the ministers. and thenceforth was troubled with no doubts either as to the reasonableness and propriety of his prayer. But for this discovery we should have been of opinion that Bessie Grahame talked to herself. as melancholy and despairing wretches are in the habit of doing. with the same confidence in the justice of their cause and similar indifference concerning the feelings of those whom they accounted the enemies of God and man. nourished in the early system of church government a considerable desire to secure their own immunities and . suspected of witchcraft. who used a low and ghostly tone. which the minister instantly recognised as the Foul Fiend's voice. to urge her to confession. found her defence so successful. by whose authority it is not said. with Alexander Simpson. which he regarded as an answer to his prayer. under suspicions of no great weight. though she died obstinate. was accomplished in the following manner. discoursing with another person. and would not confess. We have already seen that even the conviction that a woman was innocent of the crime of witchcraft did not induce a worthy clergyman to use any effort to withdraw her from the stake. A commission was granted for trial. or whether an assize would be disposed to convict her. and relying on the aid of Heaven. made a most decent and Christian end. that he actually pitied her hard usage. which he affirmed to be the devil's mark. according to his idea. acquitting her judges and jury of her blood. and wished for her delivery from prison. The whole detail is a curious illustration of the spirit of credulity which welldisposed men brought with them to such investigations. the kirk-officer. and his own servant. Bessie Grahame had been committed. But as Alexander Simpson pretended to understand the sense of what was said within the cell. as the crusaders of old invaded the land of Palestine. and the minister himself was pretty sure he heard two voices at the same time. but still the chief gentlemen in the county refused to act. especially as he doubted whether a civil court would send her to an assize. but in vain. This put the worthy man upon a solemn prayer to God. they heard the prisoner. whom they had left alone in her place of confinement. he would acknowledge it as a singular favour and mercy.

an event which struck the whole kingdom of darkness with alarm. the King of Scotland and heir of England being. and he very naturally believed that the prince of the power of the air had been personally active on the occasion. But the general spite of Satan and his adherents was supposed to be especially directed against James. the mass.privileges as a national church. The principal person implicated in these heretical and treasonable undertakings was one Agnes Simpson. and there seldom wanted some such confession as we have often mentioned. when freed from the influence of such a favourite as the profligate Stuart. James was self-gratified by the unusual spirit which he had displayed on his voyage in quest of his bride. The clergy considered that the Roman Catholics. which failed not at last to be brought into contact with the king's prerogative. The execution of witches became for these reasons very common in Scotland. on account of his match with Anne of Denmark — the union of a Protestant princess with a Protestant prince. During the halcyon period of union between kirk and king their hearty agreement on the subject of witchcraft failed not to beat the fires against the persons suspected of such iniquity. called the Wise Wife of Keith. but to the malevolent purpose of hell itself. when the clergy were in a great measure intrusted with the charge of the public government. Nor were they slack in assuming the merit to themselves. James. and described by Archbishop . it could not be doubted. not only to the indirect policy of Elizabeth. were equally devoted to the devil. was in his personal qualities rather acceptable to the clergy of his kingdom and period. and as the witches tried were personally as insignificant as the charge itself was odious. to salve their consciences and reconcile them to bring in a verdict of guilty. The king after his return acknowledged with many thanks the care which the clergy had bestowed in this particular. The juries were also afraid of the consequences of acquittal to themselves. and preserve the public peace of the kingdom. and natural allies in the great cause of mischief. At his departing from Scotland on his romantic expedition to bring home a consort from Denmark. their principal enemies. yet in the earlier part of his reign. and the clergy esteemed themselves such from the very nature of their profession. the pedantic sovereign having exercised his learning and ingenuity in the Demonologia. he very politically recommended to the clergy to contribute all that lay in their power to assist the civil magistrates. there was no restraint whatever upon those in whose hands their fate lay. which in their opinion were mutually associated together. On the other hand. being liable to suffer under an assize of error should they be thought to have been unjustly merciful. Earl of Arran. or such evidence as that collected by the minister who overheard the dialogue between the witch and her master. and well disposed to fancy that he had performed it in positive opposition. and the witches. or Samson. considered the execution of every witch who was burnt as a necessary conclusion of his own royal syllogisms. His fleet had been tempest-tost. where the king seemed in some measure to have made himself a party in the cause. for they often reminded him in their future discords that his kingdom had never been so quiet as during his voyage to Denmark.

the original of which charm occurs in the story of Apuleius. and by constructing figures of clay. would not bestow the necessary expenses. otherwise Cunninghame. “ God bless the king !” When the monarch of Scotland sprung this strong covey of his favourite game. being consulted in the illness of Isobel Hamilton. for. which were all to some purpose.” which has been lately reprinted by the Roxburghe Club. This man was made the hero of the whole tale of necromancy. Pitcairn supposes that this connexion may have arisen from her devotion to the Catholic faith and her friendship for the Earl of Bothwell. a dangerous profession considering the times in which she lived. and by one means or other. It is remarkable that the Scottish witchcrafts were not thought sufficiently horrible by the editor of this tract. Agnes Sampson.* Besides these persons. and the patient died. the grave matron before mentioned. without adding to them the story of a philtre being applied to a cow's hair instead of that of the young woman for whom it was designed. a silly old ploughman. and entitled. like a second Pasiphaë. who was cuffed by the devil for saying simply. from the terms of her indictment. and telling how the animal came lowing after the sorcerer to his schoolroom door. after being an hour tortured by the . they afforded the Privy Council and him sport for the greatest part of the remaining winter. “ News from Scotland. and about thirty other poor creatures of the lowest condition — among the rest. He attended on the examinations himself. but a grave matron. and doorkeeper to the conclave. and to take the king's life by anointing his linen with poisonous materials. startling at the proposal. Mr. Neither did she always keep the right and sheltered side of the law in such delicate operations. affecting to cure diseases by words and charms. and a person infinitely above the rank of the obscure witches with whom she was joined in her crime. in an account of it published at London. to be wasted and tormented after the usual fashion of necromancy. not as one of the base or ignorant class of ordinary witches. called as his nickname Graymeal. and enjoyed much hazardous reputation as a warlock. and at the same time establishes that the Wise Woman of Keith knew how to turn her profession to account. there was one Barbara Napier.Spottiswood. composed and deliberate in her answers. who was schoolmaster at Tranent. a person of some rank. This was Dame Euphane MacCalzean. This grave dame. One article of her indictment proves this. whereupon the Wise Wife refused to raise the devil. Geillis Duncan. she gave her opinion that nothing could amend her unless the devil was raised. the widow of a Senator of the College of justice. Amongst her associates was an unhappy lady of much higher degree. they were indifferently well dressed to his palate. seems to have been a kind of white witch. and being indifferent perhaps about the issue. The third person in this singular league of sorcerers was Doctor John Fian. a very active witch. and the sick woman's husband. This woman was principally engaged in an extensive conspiracy to destroy the fleet of the queen by raising a tempest. alias Douglas.

Gif ye will not gang before. Agnes Sampson. which was to place his majesty at the mercy of this infernal crew. in reverse of the motion of the sun. This was considered as bad taste. where it is accounted very indifferent manners to name an individual by his own name. the unhallowed crew entered. withershinns . But Satan. where. dimly seen. smugglers. whereupon the bolts gave way. like the weird sisters in Macbeth. where they paced round the church. The poor woman also acknowledged that she had held a meeting with those of her sisterhood. as the bystanders supposed. confessed that she had consulted with one Richard Grahame concerning the probable length of the king's life. The devil was particularly upbraided on this subject by divers respectable-looking females — no question. his finger bones were splintered in the pilniewinks. and the rule is still observed at every rendezvous of forgers. Satan. which they threw into the sea to excite a tempest. and he gave an account of a great witch-meeting at North Berwick. in case of affording ground of evidence which may upon a day of trial be brought against him. his knees were crushed in the boots . Barbara Napier. Geillis Duncan was the only instrumental performer. foreign ship richly laded with wines. they embarked in sieves with much mirth and jollity. hitherto sustained. having four joints of men knit to its feet. and the means of shortening it.twisting of a cord around her head. They went on board of. the music seems to have been rather imperfect. the number of dancers considered. to whom they at length resorted for advice. “ Master !” but the company were dissatisfied with his not having brought a picture of the king. singing this chant — “Cummer. pins were driven into the places which the nails usually defended. or Cunninghame. repeatedly promised. and the ball was maintained by well-nigh two hundred persons. The nails were torn from his fingers with smith's pincers. who danced a ring dance. concluded the evening with a divertisement and a dance after his own manner. according to the custom of the Buccaneers. Fian then blew into the lock of the church-door. and called Fian by his own name. He was saluted with an ” Hail. Another frolic they had when. and resembling a huge haystack in size and appearance. gang ye before. told them in French respecting King James. Fian. who had charmed a cat by certain spells. and their master the devil appeared to his servants in the shape of a black man occupying the pulpit. Euphane MacCalzean. something disconcerted. that is. Cummers. invisible to the crew. instead of the demoniacal sobriquet of Rob the Rowar. At length his constancy. by the help of the devil. The devil on this memorable occasion forgot himself. or the like. was also visited by the sharpest tortures.” After this choral exhibition. and she . Cummer gang ye. ordinary and extraordinary. Il est un homme de Dieu . and some other amateur witch above those of the ordinary profession. the Fiend rolling himself before them upon the waves. let me. was fairly overcome. and then Satan sunk the vessel and all on board. The former consisted in disinterring a new-buried corpse. they feasted till the sport grew tiresome. and dividing it in fragments among the company. which had been assigned to him as Master of the Rows or Rolls.

December I. and being put to an assize and convicted. nor did Euphane MacCalzean's station in life save her from the common doom. and was highly honoured. albeit they persevered constant in their denial to the end. the same extort confessions. which was strangling to death. Almost all these poor wretches were executed. I have modernized the spelling that this appalling record may be legible to all my readers. evincing plainly that the Earl of Mar. and others of James's Council. The majority of the jury which tried Barbara Napier having acquitted her of attendance at the North Berwick meeting. renouncing and blaspheming [God]. Nor did King James's removal to England soften this horrible persecution. * and were cast quick in it again. called in Scotland a trump . and submitting themselves to the king's pleasure.* His ears were gratified in another way. muffled. and caused her to play before him the same tune to which Satan and his companions led the brawl in North Berwick churchyard. concluded in the same tragedy at the stake and the pile The alterations and trenching which lately took place the purpose of improving the Castlehill of Edinburgh displayed the ashes of the numbers who had perished in manner. and others. for at this meeting it was said the witches demanded of the devil why he did bear such enmity against the king ? who returned the flattering answer that the king was the greatest enemy whom he had in the world. after such a cruel manner that some of them died in despair. when the great discovery was made concerning Euphane MacCalzean and the Wise Wire Keith and their accomplices. as above mentioned. “1608. Dr. of whom a large proportion must have be executed between 1590. It would be disgusting to follow the numerous cases in which the same uniform credulity. Fian. This rigorous and iniquitous conduct shows a sufficient reason why there should be so few acquittals from a charge of witchcraft where the juries were so much at the mercy of the crown. generally acting as clerk or recorder. He sent for Geillis Duncan. so soon as his own august person was removed from Edinburgh.played on a Jew's harp. King James was deeply interested in those mysterious meetings. and took great delight to be present at the examinations of the accused. half burned. In Sir Thomas Hamiltons's Minutes of Proceedings in the Privy Council. led the ring. till they were burned to the death. brak out of the fire. and burning to ashes thereafter. there occurs a singular entry. yet they were burned quick [alive]. his dutiful Privy Council began to think that they . were themselves threatened with a trial for wilful error upon an assize. and could only escape from severe censure and punishment by pleading guilty. and the union of the crowns. The Earl of Mar declared to the Council that some women were taken in Broughton as witches. were becoming fully sensible of the desperate iniquity and inhumanity of these proceedings. the same prejudiced and exaggerated evidence.” This singular document shows that even in the reign of James.

came to the residence of Tran.* Margaret Barclay. Cromwell himself. named John Stewart. the kirk-session discharged by directing a. Janet Lyal. having in the course of it some peculiar and romantic events. yet the said Margaret Barclay declared that she gave her hand only in obedience to the kirk-session. as guilty of some act of theft. Janet Lyal. Through the whole of the sixteenth. although the two women shook hands before the court. provost of the burgh of Irvine. and dropped explicit hints that the ship was lost. and the greater part of the seventeenth century. reconciliation between the parties. and that partans (crabs) might eat the crew at the bottom of the sea. wife of Archibald Dein.had supt full with horrors. more tragic in its event than that of the chestnut-muncher in Macbeth. and to possess the power of a spaeman. Even while the Independents held the reins of government. the spouse of John Dein. after some procedure. praying to God that sea nor salt-water might never bear the ship. as the severities against witches were most unhappily still considered necessary. Margaret Barclay. About this time the bark of John Dein was about to sail for France. a vagabond fellow. pretending to have knowledge of jugglery. was heard to imprecate curses upon the provost's argosy. however much it may have been disgusting and terrifying to the Council at the time. Nevertheless. under these auspices. It is the tale of a sailor's wife. and his major-generals and substitutes. and that the good woman of the house was a widow. had been slandered by her sister-in-law. Upon this provocation Margaret Barclay raised an action of slander before the church court. The sad . had no lasting effect on the course of justice. Instead of plunging into a history of these events which. but that she still retained her hatred and ill-will against John Dein and his wife. who was an owner of the vessel. or Tran. with a sufficient number of mariners. generally speaking. When. were obliged to please the common people of Scotland by abandoning the victims accused of witchcraft to the power of the law. little abatement in the persecution of this metaphysical crime of witchcraft can be traced in the kingdom. Two other merchants of some consequence went in the same vessel. and by John Dein himself. the revengeful person already mentioned. which prosecution. and Andrew Train. and were satiated with the excess of cruelty which dashed half-consumed wretches back to the flames from which they were striving to escape. the ship was absent on her voyage. went with him to superintend the commercial part of the voyage. and though the intention of the entry upon the records was obviously for the purpose of preventing such horrid cruelties in future. But the picture. though the journals of the time express the horror and disgust with which the English sectarians beheld a practice so inconsistent with their own humane principle of universal toleration. burgess of Irvine. brother of Archibald. are in detail as monotonous as they are melancholy. it may amuse the reader to confine the narrative to a single trial. the provost.

“ in order that she might get gear. whether voluntarily declared or extracted by torture. such as ladies use to keep. in plunging them in the sea. who had seemed to know of the evil fate of the voyage before he could have become acquainted with it by natural means. and became red like the juice of madder in a dyer's cauldron. had applied to him to teach her some magic arts. and on John Stewart. love of man. a child of eight years old . and found her engaged. arrived. She was imprisoned. and her mother Isobel Insh. he added a string of circumstances. with fair hair. and cast in the figures of clay representing the ship and the men. Margaret Tailzeour. finally. who had imprecated curses on the ship. her heart's desire on such persons as had done her wrong. who lived as servant with Margaret Barclay. in making clay figures. acknowledged that Margaret Barclay. the evidence of this child was contradictory and inconsistent with the confession of the . that he might point out her associates in forming the charm. except the two sailors who brought the notice. and during this labour the devil appeared to the company in the shape of a handsome black lap-dog. one of the figures was made handsome. that she might obtain the fruit of sea and land. either from terror or the innate love of falsehood which we have observed as proper to childhood.” Stewart declared that he denied to Margaret that he possessed the said arts himself. Stewart. the juggler. after a space of doubt and anxiety. and. declared that she was present when the fatal models of clay were formed. This confession having been extorted from the unfortunate juggler. with the melancholy tidings that the bark. were assisted by another woman. the female acquaintances of Margaret Barclay were next convened. Legally considered. was fixed on Margaret Barclay. the person principally accused. true or false. followed by the black lapdog aforesaid. after which the sea raged. which house he pointed out to the city magistrates. who was keeper of a baby belonging to Margaret Barclay. supposed o represent Provost Tran. They then proceeded to mould a figure of a ship in clay. and that. and went into an empty waste-house nearer the seaport. roared. Suspicion of sorcery. An addition to the evidence against the poor old woman Insh was then procured from her own daughter. shortly after the ship set sail from harbour. kye's milk. This child. to this woman's house in Irvine. of which John Dein was skipper and Provost Tran part owner. So far as well. From this house they went to the sea-side. He had come. which tended to fix the cause of the loss of the bark on Margaret Barclay. the other suspected person. with other two women. however. he said. in the belfry of the church. when all on board had been lost.* He added that the whole party left the house together. when he pitched upon a woman called Isobel Insh or Taylor. had been wrecked on the coast of England. who resolutely denied having ever seen him before. who was first apprehended. and a girl of fourteen years old who dwelt at the town-head. but. in those days easily awakened. He went to Margaret's house by night. Margaret Barclay her mistress. Two of the seamen.truth was afterwards learned on more certain information. or had the power of communicating them. near Padstow.

and she at length acknowledged her presence at the time when the models of the ship and mariners were destroyed. Bailie Dunlop again urged her to confess. for a commission was granted for the trial of the two remaining persons accused. to whose appearance she also added the additional terrors of that of a black man. Stewart. conform to the tenor of the foresaid commission. was put in a sure lockfast booth. promising Bailie Dunlop (also a mariner). in trying of the foresaid devilish practices. as they conceived. locks. for his better preserving to the day of the assize.” and attained the roof of the church. her mistress promised her a pair of new shoes. The scene began to thicken. the unfortunate woman made use of the darkness to attempt an escape. says the report. the said John Stewart. namely. although. She was finally brought to promise that she would fully confess the whole that she knew of the affair on the morrow. John Stewart. the magistrates and ministers wrought bard with Isobel Insh to prevail upon her to tell the truth. and maintained her innocence to the last minute of her life. and dying five days after her fall from the roof of the church. The conspiracy thus far. where no manner of person might have access to him till the downsitting of the . But finding herself in so hard a strait. that. For her own countenance and presence on the occasion. especially since the girl failed not to swear to the presence of the black dog. concurrence and assistance. With this view she got out by a back window of the belfry. and to give that marvellous account of his correspondence with Elfland which we have noticed elsewhere. but endeavoured so to modify her declaration as to deny all personal accession to the guilt. which we give as stated in the record: — “ My Lord and Earl of Eglintoune (who dwells within the space of one mile to the said burgh) having come to the said burgh at the earnest request of the said justices. if he would dismiss her. The inhabitants of Irvine attributed her death to poison. the following singular events took place. The child maintained this story even to her mother's face. there were “ iron bolts. he should never make a bad voyage. losing her footing. according to her account. the juggler. was easily compelled to allow that the ” little smatchet” was there. The day of trial being arrived. denying all that she had formerly admitted. This poor creature almost admitted the supernatural powers imputed to her. being re-examined and confronted with the child. but the poor woman was determined to appeal to a more merciful tribunal. where. for it assigned other particular and dramatis personæ in many respects different. and Margaret Barclay. she sustained a severe fall and was greatly bruised. emitted flashes from its jaws and nostrils to illuminate the witches during the performance of the spell. but have success in all his dealings by sea and land. and fetters on her. only alleging that Isobel Insh remained behind in the waste-house. for giving to them of his lordship's countenance.juggler. But was accounted sufficiently regular. disclosed. by whom she was imprisoned. Being apprehended. and to ensure her secrecy. and was not present when the images were put into the sea. The dog also.

and before God I shall show you the whole form !' . to be their own burrioes (slayers). supposed to have been his garter. he was very strictly guarded and fettered by the arms. as use is. and uttered these words: — ” I am so straitly guarded that it lies not in my power to get my hand to take off my bonnet. constituted by commission after solemn deliberation and advice of the said noble lord. irons. They used the torture underwritten as being most safe and gentle (as the said noble lord assured the said justices). and for avoiding of putting violent bands on himself. not above the length of two span long. Mr. minister of Air. she then uttered these words: ' Take off. And upon that same day of the assize. our sovereign lord's justices in that part particularly above-named. having gone to him to exhort him to call on his God for mercy for his bygone wicked and evil life. were all present within the said burgh. and being of new essayed in torture as of befoir. to cry and crave for God's cause to take off her shins the foresaid. David Dickson. but so ended his life miserably.justice Court. he revived not.' And immediately after the departing of the two ministers from him. and Mr. and then eiking and augmenting the weight by laying on more gauds. “ And because there was then only in life the said Margaret Barclay. had made her associates who were the lights of the cause. by God's permission. or string of his bonnet. and that God would of his infinite mercy loose him out of the bonds of the devil. had put violent hands on himself. George Dunbar. therefore. But notwithstanding of whatsoever means used in the contrary for remeid of his life. who was apprehended by the magistrates of the burgh of Air for witchcraft. and broke not the skin of her legs. in respect the devil. or a string made of hemp. with a tait of hemp. his knees not being from the ground half a span. by the help of the devil his master. he acquiesced in their prayer and godly exhortation. &c. “ After using of the which kind of gentle torture. and that the persons summoned to pass upon her assize and upon the assize of the juggler who. take off. to be confronted with a woman of the burgh of Air. and in easing of her by offtaking of the iron gauds one or more as occasion offered. she began at her former denial. nor to get bread to my mouth. the juggler being sent for at the desire of my Lord of Eglintoune. by putting of her two bare legs in a pair of stocks. and sent to the burgh of Irvine purposely for that affair. and thereafter by onlaying of certain iron gauds (bars) severally one by one. and she should declare truly the whole matter. according to the increase of the pain. about half an hour before the downsitting of the justice Court. whom he had served these many years bygone. and for eschewing of the like in the person of the said Margaret. he was found by the burgh officers who went about him. whose concurrence and advice was chiefly required and taken in this matter. and was brought out of the house. minister at Irvine. which iron gauds were but little short gauds. concluded with all possible diligence before the downsitting of the Justice Court to put the said Margaret in torture. strangled and hanged by the cruik of the door. the said Margaret began. by the help of the devil his master. Which being removed. called Janet Bous. his life not being totally expelled.

&c. freely.” The jury. by rendering of the truth. namely. removed. minister of Kilmarnock. 1618. provost of Ayr. had hitherto conducted herself like a passionate and high tempered woman innocently accused. This poor woman was also apprehended. she then desired my Lord of Eglintoune. who was a young and lively person. and loading her bare shins with bars of iron. was the only mode in which she could obtain any share of public sympathy at her death. minister of Ayr. minister of the burgh.” — Trial of Margaret Barclay. and easing of her heart. when it began to fail. and died affirming it. affirming that it was with the purpose of killing only her brother-in-law and Provost Tran. She then told a story of destroying the ship of John Dein. the weights were removed. and she should declare truly. Apparently. Margaret Barclay. and Hugh Kennedy. in her circumstances. overcame her resolution. when Alexander Dein. and. On this nice distinction they in one voice found Margaret Barclay guilty. and Mr. John Cunninghame.“ And the said irons being of new. if she was less explicit in her declaration than her auditors wished. that she. and the only appearance of conviction obtained against her was. unmoved by these affecting circumstances. as she said. or that an apparent penitence for her offence. Mr. but (i. for when the prisoner was asked by the lawyer whether she wished to be defended ? she answered. as she should answer to God the whole matter. George Dunbar. It is singular that she should have again returned to her confession after sentence. the explanation of which. upon her faithfull promise. her cow give milk. God's name by earnest prayer being called upon for opening of her lips.e. David Dickson. without) any kind of demand. to come by themselves and to remove all others. might glorify and magnify his holy name. But the gentle torture — a strange junction of words — recommended as an anodyne by the good Lord Eglinton — the placing. and the said Mr. at her screams and declarations that she was willing to tell all. however imaginary. and in great terror confessed the imputed crime. her legs in the stocks. however. . “ As you please. the said four justices. She at the same time involved in the guilt Isobel Crawford. might be either that she had really in her ignorance and folly tampered with some idle spells. minister of Dalry. when. although they were placed at her elbow ready to be again laid on her bare shins. without interrogation. to make. . she . “ Ye have been too long in coming. Whose desire in that being fulfilled she made her confession in this manner. the husband of Margaret Barclay. which. since the bars were not actually upon her limbs at the time it was delivered. that she carried about her rowan-tree and coloured thread. or a portion of the prayers of the clergy and congregation. The trial was then appointed to proceed.” To which she pathetically added. the sight of her husband awakened some hope and desire of life. and Mr. Mitchell Wallace. and saving the rest of the crew. proceeded upon the principle that the confession of the accused could not be considered as made tinder the influence of torture. But all I have confest was in agony of torture. appeared in court with a lawyer to act in his wife's behalf. all I have spoken is false and untrue. before God. and disappoint the enemy of her salvation. retorting the principal blame on Margaret Barclay herself.

and died without any sign of repentance. After this had been denounced.” But in shifting the situation of the iron bars. and recorded. her feet being in the stocks. rather than struggle hopelessly against so many evils. had made earnest prayers to God for opening her obdurate and closed heart. is the . became disposed to throw away the lives that were rendered bitter to them by a voluntary confession of guilt. how poor wretches. She endured this torture with incredible firmness. merely because the throwing some clay models into the sea. and removing them to another part of her shins. A new commission was granted for her trial. steady. by God and the world. and after the assistant minister of Irvine. forms the most detailed specimen I have met with of a Scottish trial for witchcraft — illustrating. after reading such a story. did not forbear to insist against Isobel Crawford. Mr. that one pile was usually lighted at the embers of another. so perilous as it seemed to men of a maritime life. she openly denied all her former confessions. three victims having already perished by this accusation. since she did “ admirably. she made the usual confession of all that she was charged with. and absolutely refusing to pardon the executioner. as it is. a fact told differently by the witnesses who spoke of it. as in the case of Margaret Barclay. the magistrates. her constancy gave way. and her body burnt to ashes. It was one fatal consequence of these cruel persecutions. inculpated by Margaret Barclay's confession. This unfortunate young creature was strangled at the stake.might be willing to purchase. the woman whom she had herself accused. David Dickson. for no day was fixed in which a particular vessel was lost. in particular. corresponded with the season. This tragedy happened in the year 1613. as it were. even by confession of what all believed respecting her. offering repeated interruption to the minister in his prayer. a man of sense can listen for an instant to the evidence founded on confessions thus obtained. one of whom had been their principal magistrate. when extorted by such means. deprived of all human sympathy. having died with many expressions of religion and penitence. have endeavoured to justify a belief in the existence of witchcraft. abandoned. and at the loss of several friends of their own. as they conceived. suffer above thirty stone of iron to be laid on her legs. It is remarkable that she earnestly entreated the magistrates that no harm should be done to Isobel Crawford. The result of the judicial examination of a criminal. without any kind of din or exclamation. she broke out into horrible cries (though not more than three bars were then actually on her person) of — ” Tak aff — tak aff!” On being relieved from the torture. very particularly and at considerable length. and of a connexion with the devil which had subsisted for several years. even in modern times. but remaining. Sentence was given against her accordingly. incensed at the nature of the crime. never shrinking thereat in any sort. and exposed to personal tortures of an acute description. Accordingly in the present case. which has been almost the sole reason by which a few individuals. she was subjected to the torture of iron bars laid upon her bare shins. Four persons here lost their lives. It is scarce possible that.

there was no need of incensing him by vain efforts at repentance. and even when voluntarily given. as he had no hope whatever of escaping Satan. He received sentence of death. until it came to be observed that. is scarce admissible without the corroboration of other testimony. The case of this notorious wizard was remarkable chiefly from his being a man of some condition (the son of a gentleman. The disgusting profligacies which he confessed were of such a character that it may be charitably hoped most of them were the fruits of a depraved imagination. however. though he appears to have been in many respects a wicked and criminal hypocrite. We might here take leave of our Scottish history of witchcraft by barely mentioning that many hundreds. and peculiarly attached to that cause. This Major Weir was seized by the magistrates on a strange whisper that became current respecting vile practices. the consequence perhaps of remorse. and his mother a lady of family in Clydesdale). between Leith and Edinburgh. he avowed solemnly that he had not confessed the hundredth part of the crimes which he had committed. which Procured him his title of Major. When he had completed his confession. It was also remarkable in his case that he had been a Covenanter. In the years of the Commonwealth this man was trusted and employed by those who were then at the head of affairs. It was noticed. which he seems to have admitted without either shame or contrition. He was peculiar in his gift of prayer. and was in 1649 commander of the City-Guard of Edinburgh. In this capacity he was understood. that when this stick was taken from him. but such as urged him not to repent. was often called to exercise his talent by the bedside of sick persons. in short. but any feeling he had of him was in the dark. by some association. at the Gallow-hill. to be very strict in executing severity upon such Royalists as fell under his military charge. It appears that the Major. nay perhaps thousands. One case. in which he alleged he had never seen the devil. which was seldom the case with those that fell under similar accusations. From this time he would answer no interrogatory. with a maiden sister who had kept his house. is so much distinguished by fame among the numerous instances which occurred in Scottish history. was subject to fits of melancholic lunacy. he could not pray with the same warmth and fluency of expression unless when he had in his hand a stick of peculiar shape and appearance. as was the custom of the period. and. an infirmity easily reconcilable with the formal pretences which he made to a high show of religious zeal.most suspicious of all evidence. his wit and talent appeared to forsake him. His witchcraft seems to have been taken for granted on his own confession. that we are under the necessity of bestowing a few words upon those celebrated persons. which he suffered 12th April. lost their lives during two centuries on such charges and such evidence as proved the death of those persons in the trial of the Irvine witches. which it is more easy to conceive than to explain. 1670. but to . nor would he have recourse to prayer. Major Weir and his sister. He died so stupidly sullen and impenitent as to justify the opinion that he was oppressed with a kind of melancholy frenzy. which he generally walked with. as was indeed implied in the duties of that officer at the period. arguing that. as his indictment was chiefly founded on the same document.

His sister. was condemned also to death. “ weep and lament for a poor old wretch like me.” published on the subject of Major Weir. as usual. rejoiced to have an opportunity. as she said. so many of which occurred near and in Edinburgh. and witch trials. It was at different times a brazier's shop and a magazine for lint. It seems probable that he was burnt alive. Andrews his book called ” Ravaillac Redivivus.” said. which has a gloomy aspect. in order to the modern improvements now carrying on in a quarter long thought unimprovable. but alas ! few are weeping for a broken Covenant. Her last words were in the tone of the sect to which her brother had so long affected to belong: “ Many. a scholar and an antiquary. and acknowledged the assistance she received from that sovereign in spinning an unusual quantity of yarn. or hearing the hum of the necromantic wheel. but no family would inhabit the haunted walls as a residence. which procured for his sister such a character as a spinner.despair. the grandfather of the late celebrated John Clerk of Eldin. She gave. Of her brother she said that one day a friend called upon them at noonday with a fiery chariot. At the time I am writing this last fortress of superstitious renown is in the the course of being destroyed. with whom he was supposed to have had an incestuous connexion. and the case of Mitchell. Hickes. leaving a stronger and more explicit testimony of their mutual sins than could be extracted from the Major. and that while there her brother received information of the event of the battle of Worcester. the gentlemen and clergy of Scotland became ashamed of the credulity of their ancestors. to retort on their adversaries the charge of sorcery. and invited them to visit a friend at Dalkeith. made such a lasting impression on the public mind as that of Major Weir. to die ” with the greatest shame possible. and bold was the urchin from the High School who dared approach the gloomy ruin at the risk of seeing the Major's enchanted staff parading through the old apartments. to which he was appointed so early as 1678.” The Scottish prelatists.* . and other infernal practices. some account of her connexion with the queen of the fairies. determining. the author of ” Thesaurus Septentrionalis. had the honour to be amongst the first to decline acting as a commissioner on the trial of a witch. Dr. No one saw the style of their equipage except themselves. As knowledge and learning began to increase. well suited for a necromancer. who fired at the Archbishop of St.” written with the unjust purpose of attaching to the religious sect to which the wizard and assassin belonged the charge of having fostered and encouraged the crimes they committed or attempted. in their turn. On the scaffold this woman.” was with difficulty prevented from throwing off her clothes before the people. although not discontinued. upon whom the Covenanters used to throw many aspersions respecting their receiving proof against shot from the devil. more seldom disgrace our records of criminal jurisprudence. Sir John Clerk. It is certain that no story of witchcraft or necromancy. and with scarce less trouble was she flung from the ladder by the executioner. The remains of the house in which he and his sister lived are still shown at the head of the West Bow. and in my younger days was employed for the latter use.

where a young girl. anno 1697 — a time when persons of more goodness and esteem than most of their calumniators were defamed for witches. poverty. was the principal evidence. and ill-fame. features. Bell in his MS. five of the accused were executed. besides one John Reed. in the business of the sorceries exercised upon the Laird of Bargarran's daughter. lest he should make disclosures to the detriment of the service. A still more remarkable case occurred at Paisley in 1697. one man and five women. that he did not feel himself warlock (that is. and imprisoned with the usual severities. so that oftentimes old age. a late instance whereof we had in the west. Yet these dawnings of sense and humanity were obscured by the clouds of the ancient superstition on more than one distinguished occasion. laid an accusation of witchcraft against two women. In the year 1704 a frightful instance of popular bigotry occurred at Pittenweem. and in the means made use of for promoting the discovery of such wretches and bringing them to justice. beginning her practices out of a quarrel with a maid-servant. Allan Ramsay. as was charitably said. In the meantime. The chief evidence on the subject was a vagabond girl. and which was occasioned mostly by the forwardness and absurd credulity of diverse otherwise worthy ministers of the gospel.” ” there has been much harm done to worthy and innocent persons in the common way of finding out witches.alleging. had delivered his opinion on the subject in the “ Gentle Shepherd. pretending to be deaf and dumb. who were accordingly seized on. One of the unhappy creatures. “ Treatise on Witchcraft. with such like grounds not worthy to be represented to a magistrate. drily. Sir George Maxwell. and the sixth only escaped on account of extreme youth. and some topping professors in and about the city of Glasgow. began to take courage and state their objections boldly. it is reasonably to be concluded that she had herself formed the picture or image of Sir George. But as her imposture was afterwards discovered and herself punished. or. was strangled by the devil in person. Janet .” says the Rev. who affected fits. of whom five were executed. In 1676. “ I own. continued to imitate a case of possession so accurately that no less than twenty persons were condemned upon her evidence. daughter of John Shaw. conjurer) sufficient to be a judge upon such an inquisition. and had hid it where it was afterwards found in consequence of her own information. apparently a man of melancholic and valetudinary habits. his friend. who hanged himself in prison. have yet moved many to suspect and defame their neighbours. about eleven years of age. Mr. A strolling vagabond. of Bargarran. who were leagued for the purpose of tormenting a clay image in his likeness.” * Those who doubted of the sense of the law or reasonableness of the practice in such cases. to the unspeakable prejudice of Christian charity. believed himself bewitched to death by six witches.” where Mause's imaginary witchcraft constitutes the machinery of the poem. But even those who believed in witchcraft were now begin to open their eyes to the dangers in the present mode of prosecution. and who must be supposed to speak the sense of his many respectable patrons. of Pollock. This unlucky damsel.

pined. and brought back to Pittenweem. operated upon by all the prejudices of the country and the populace. and in what manner. two witches were said to have died. in her compelled confession. The officers in the higher branches of the law dared now assert their official authority and reserve for their own decision cases of supposed witchcraft which the fear of public clamour had induced them formerly to leave in the hands of inferior judges. and his professional weapon of an axe. The magistrates made no attempts for her rescue. was still more remarkable. it was something gained that the cruelty was exposed to the public. As even the existing laws against witchcraft were transgressed by this brutal riot. which is one of the most nonsensical in this nonsensical department of the law. Her leg being broken. Robert Dundas of Arniston. consisting of rude seamen and fishers. intended to judge in the case himself. which. where she also died. the celebrated lawyer. ” a thing of too great difficulty to be tried without very deliberate advice. escaped from prison. in such cases. where she fell into the hands of a ferocious mob. “ spoke among themselves. in which the parties assailed were zealously defended. dirk. during the general distraction of the country concerning the Union. He also called the magistrate's attention to a report. The case of. in the first place. and in the long run the sentiments which it advocates are commonly those of good sense and humanity. was to advise with the King's Counsel. A certain carpenter. and finally ended her miserable existence by throwing a door over her as she lay exhausted on the beach.” The Sheriff-depute sends. it should take place. In consequence of his blows. named Nin Gilbert. whether any process should be directed against persons whom. and finally fell off. and broad-sword. and if so. and the crowd exercised their brutal pleasure on the poor old woman. the Sheriff-depute. as usual. but was unhappily caught. The Advocate reminded this local judge that the duty of inferior magistrates. then King's Advocate. but it so happened. In 1718. Still. on which the hag was enclosed in prison. The voice of general opinion was now appealed to. wrote a severe letter of censure to the Sheriff-depute of Caithness. and the question which remained was. swung her suspended on a rope betwixt a ship and the shore.Cornfoot by name. The superior authorities were expected to take up the affair. the precognition * of the affair. named William Montgomery. as his servant-maid reported. first. pelted her with stones. she had. There were answers published. as having neglected to communicate officially certain precognitions which he had led respecting some recent practices of witchcraft in his county. the injured limb withered. he made such a dispersion that they were quiet for the night. that he.” that he fell in a rage upon a party of these animals which had assembled in his house at irregular hours. a third. a warm attack was made upon the magistrates and ministers of the town by those who were shocked at a tragedy of such a horrible cast. before what court. and betwixt his Highland arms of knife. with his apology. and beyond the jurisdiction of an inferior court. . and heaping stones upon it till she was pressed to death. however. was so infested with cats. whether they should be made subject of a trial or not. that the murder went without the investigation which a crime so horrid demanded.

The remains of the superstition sometimes occur. an ignorant and malignant woman seems really to have meditated the destruction of her neighbour's property.informed against. The women were imprisoned. took it into his head. under instructions. it is said. by placing in a cowhouse. was living so lately as to receive the charity of the present Marchioness of Stafford. the third son of James. The noble family also began to see through the cheat. and finally was drowned in a storm. as may be supposed. and other counter-spells. In the year 1722. She had a daughter lame both of hands and feet. Since this deplorable action there has been no judicial interference in Scotland on account of witchcraft. the design conjectured. . and one or two of them died. This precious spell was discovered. In 1720. he himself distinguished by the same misfortune. The formidable spell is now in my possession. but the lame daughter. An instance or two may be quoted chiefly as facts known to the author himself. The Lord Advocate. laying the cause of his distress on certain old witches in Calder. when the discipline of the navy proved too sever for his cunning. in process of time he became a good sailor. quashed all further procedure. It does not appear that any punishment was inflicted for this cruel abuse of the law on the person of a creature so helpless. took it upon him. and by main force taken the unfortunate creature out of the hands of the populace. near to which village his father had his mansion. In a remote part of the Highlands. a Sheriff-depute of Sutherland. a circumstance attributed to the witch's having been used to transform her into a pony. Captain David Ross of Littledean. to whom the poor of her extensive country are as well known as those of the higher order. and the witch would have been torn to pieces had not a high-spirited and excellent lady in the neighbourhood gathered some of her people (though these were not very fond of the service). who had so little idea of her situation as to rejoice at the sight of the fire which was destined to consume her. and though he is said at one time to have been disposed to try his fits while on board. or byre as we call it. assisted gallantly in defence of the vessel against the pirates of Angria. Countess of Sutherland in her own right. and other trumpery. unless to prevent explosions of popular enmity against people suspected of such a crime. there can be no doubt that the vulgar are still addicted to the custom of scoring above the breath* (as it is termed). in flagrant violation of the then established rules of jurisdiction. of which some instances could be produced. from a knavish governor. evincing that the belief in witchcraft is only asleep. The boy was sent to sea. The victim was an insane old woman belonging to the parish of Loth. and get her shod by the devil. but the Crown counsel would not proceed to trial. an unlucky boy. to play the possessed and bewitched person. and might in remote comers be again awakened to deeds of blood. parings of nails. a pot of baked clay containing locks of hair. to pronounce the last sentence of death for witchcraft which was ever passed in Scotland. Lord Torphichen.

if she used her tongue with so much license. sensible. The dearth of the years in the end of the eighteenth and beginning of this century was inconvenient to all. the dame went to a neigbbouring farmer. Scarce knowing what to believe. or such a place. A solitary old woman. As the old woman in the present instance fought her way through life better than her neighbours. and that should coincidences happen to irritate her .” On receiving this answer. envy stigmatized her as having some unlawful mode of increasing the gains of her little trade. and to open these sacks again. But she felt. as they were taking down the walls of a building formerly used as a feeding-house for cattle. et malum secutum . and sure enough. and the whole circumstances are well known to me. there is scarce one but has a curious knot upon his tail. that the accused herself was not to be reconciled to the sheriff's doctrine so easily. It is strange. and even the farmers' wives. and without which her little stock of poultry must have been inevitably starved. and five or six sacks of corn were damaged by the water. “ Good neighbour. upon a case so extraordinary. the old woman's temper gave way.About two years since. The good farmer hardly knew what to think of this. which was just setting off for the market. but my corn is measured out for Dalkeith market. and wished evil to his property. and chiefly because the farmers were un-willing to sell grain in the very moderate quantities which she was able to purchase. “ I am sorry to be obliged to refuse you. my carts are loaded to set out. but true. an operation requiring so much care and attention that the gentry. They parted. in the town of Dalkeith. and had little difficulty to bring him to regard the matter in its true light of an accident. against the operations of witchcraft on the cattle which are kept within. would cast my accounts loose. like others. there were the two circumstances deemed of old essential and sufficient to the crime of witchcraft-Damnum minatum . Among the almost innumerable droves of bullocks which come down every year from the Highlands for the south. subsisted chiefly by rearing chickens. and apparently she did not take much alarm at the accusation. I dare say you will get all you want at such a place. the dearth of the years alluded to. according to tradition. off came the wheel from one of them. and for so small a quantity. as a friend rather than a magistrate. a very good-natured. and create much trouble and disadvantage. she must expose herself to suspicions. She scolded the wealthy farmer. which is also a precaution lest an evil eye or an evil spell may do the animal harm. and requested him as a favour to sell her a peck of oats at any price. honest man. He reminded her that.” he said. in a wild and lonely district. after some angry language on both sides. but distressing to the poor. there was found below the threshold-stone the withered heart of some animal stuck fall of many scores of pins — a counter-charm. In distress on this account. he hastened to consult the sheriff of the county. The last Scottish story with which I will trouble you happened in or shortly after the year 1800. often find it better to buy poultry at a certain age than to undertake the trouble of bringing them up. as the carts crossed the ford of the river beneath the farm-house. The official person showed him that the laws against witchcraft were abrogated.

let her wish her worst to him. * A copy of the record of the trial. The tree near the front of an ancient castle was called the Covine tree . “The silly bit chicken. to cost the lives of those who make their boast of them.” * I am obliged to the kindness of Mr. She was rather more angry than pleased at the well-meaning sheriff's scepticism. gar cast her a pickle. as on former occasions. their consequences. who believes himself the victim of a gang of witches. i. and ascribes his illness to their charms. and afterwards minister of Eastwood. in short. his belief that her words and intentions were perfectly harmless. But that of another.” § Stubble. * “Lucii Apuleii Metamorphoses. At present the story is scarcely worth mentioning. At least one hypochondriac patient is known to the author. So low. Leith. were they received by the community in general. And she will grow mickle. which took place in Ayrshire. and other suburban parts of Edinburgh. is preserved. * This word Covine seems to signify a subdivision or squad. Pitcairn for this singular extract. He's well loo'd in the western waters. probably because the lord received his company there.” In short. would go near. so that I can only thank him in this general acknowledgment. * “Satan's invisible World. which. 15. 98. sir. George Sinclair. p. “limb and lire. iii.” she said. ” for I kenna how it is. but as it contains material resembling those out of which many tragic incidents have arisen.” lib. so that he wants nothing but an indulgent judge to awake again the old ideas of sorcery. And she will do good. and bore the same relation to that city as the borough of Southwark to London. * Mackenzie's “Criminal Law. * Or Scottish wandering beggar. and her disposition to insist upon their efficacy.136 Pining We should read perhaps. was sent to me by a friend who withheld his name. is now the belief in witchcraft. And king of the Covine tree. 45 * Sinclair's “Satan's Invisible World Discovered. which might have in other times conveyed her to the stake.” p.” vol. but something aye comes after my words when I am ill-guided and speak ower fast. at the same time. she was obstinate in claiming an influence over the destiny of others by words and wishes.” p. But best of his ain minnie. 43. He therefore requested her to be more cautious in her language for her own sake. * Sinclair's ” Satan's Invisible World Discovered.” by Mr. that perhaps it is only received by those half-crazy individuals who feel a species of consequence derived from accidental coincidences. would certainly of old have made her a fit victim.neighbours. she might suffer harm at a time when there was no one to protect her.” p. * This . “He is lord of the hunting horn.” * See p. and that he had no apprehension of being hurt by her. professing. believed to have been popular on such occasions. The southern reader must be informed that the jurisdiction or regality of Broughton embraced Holyrood. The author was Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Glasgow. in Renfrewshire. “ I would be laith to wish ony ill either to you or yours. * Fountainhall's “ Decisions. Canongate. * The music of this witch tune is unhappily lost. for which her expressions.

Esq. Veal's Ghost — Dunton's Apparition Evidence — Effect of Appropriate Scenery to Encourage a Tendency to Superstition — Differs at distant Periods of Life — Night at Glammis Castle about 1791 — Visit to Dunvegan in 1814. confided in all throughout Scotland as the most powerful counter charm. 15. was that of astrology. by two cuts in the form of a cross on the witch's forehead. Vincent — Of a British General Officer — Of an Apparition in France — Of the Second Lord Lyttelton — Of Bill Jones — Of Jarvis Matcham — Trial of two Highlanders for the Murder of Sergeant Davis. Lamb — Dr. i. Sharpe.” * See Fountainhall's “ Decisions. anno 1649 — Imposture called the Stockwell Ghost — Similar Case in Scotland — Ghost appearing to an Exciseman — Story of a Disturbed House discovered by the firmness of the Proprietor — Apparition at Plymouth — A Club of Philosophers — Ghost Adventure of a Farmer — Trick upon a Veteran Soldier — Ghost Stories recommended by the Skill of the Authors who compose them — Mrs. and other fantastic arts of prediction afforded each its mystical assistance and guidance.may remind the reader of Cazotte's “Diable Amoureux. his chance of . incur the responsibility of sending an accused person to trial. p. Dun — Irish Superstition of the Banshie — Similar Superstition in the Highlands — Brownie — Ghosts — Belief of Ancient Philosophers on that Subject — Inquiry into the respect due to such Tales in Modern Times — Evidence of a Ghost against a Murderer — Ghost of Sir George Villiers — Story of Earl St. Physiognomy. chiromancy. LETTER X. the great were supposed to have a royal path of their own. * Law's “Memorialls. discovered by a Ghost — Disturbances at Woodstock. But the road most flattering to human vanity. * The precognition is the record of the preliminary evidence on which the public officers charged in Scotland with duties entrusted to a grand jury in England. with some approach to certainty. K. the queen of mystic sciences. who flattered those who confided in her that the planets and stars in their spheres figure forth and influence the fate of the creatures of mortality.” vol. commanding a view from a loftier quarter of the same terra incognita . * Drawing blood. WHILE the vulgar endeavoured to obtain a glance into the darkness of futurity by consulting the witch or fortune-teller. and that a sage acquainted with her lore could predict.: Prefatory Notice. Other Mystic Arts independent of Witchcraft — Astrology — Its Influence during the 16th and 17th Centuries — Base Ignorance of those who practised it — Lilly's History of his Life and Times — Astrologer's Society — Dr. the events of any man's career. 93.” edited by C. This was represented as accessible by several routes. p. Forman — Establishment of the Royal Society — Partridge — Connexion of Astrologers with Elementary Spirits — Dr. that is. while it was at the same time most seductive to human credulity.

and the place of such calm and disinterested pursuers of truth was occupied by a set of men sometimes ingenious. . always forward and assuming. in the sixteenth and greater part of the seventeenth centuries.success in life or in marriage. if even Bacon could have taught such moderation. though talking loud and high of the endless treasures his art was to produce. even the alchemist. by the grossest frauds. like others. must soon have discovered its delusive vanity through the splendour of its professions. or Native. who made pretensions to astrology. if sometimes they were elevated into rank and fortune. lived from day to day and from year to year upon hopes as unsubstantial as the smoke of his furnace. would not have suited the temper of those who. worthless. and that artist lived by duping others. past. But a grave or sober use of this science. be made a proper use of. Imagination was dazzled by a prospect so splendid. and to come. Such being the case. as he was called. whose responses were. upon the silly fools who consulted them. and almost without exception describes them as profligate. was sufficiently fitted to dupe others. faithful in their remarks and reports. with some gloomy shades of fanaticism in his temperament. Lilly. instead of starving. ambition and success have placed confidence in the species of fatalism inspired by a belief of the influence of their own star. was all that was necessary to enable the astrologer to erect a scheme of the position of the heavenly bodies. making thus a distinction betwixt the art as commonly practised and the manner in which it might. as he conceived. and imposing. or answer any other horary questions. provided always he could supply the exact moment of his birth. the science was little pursued by those who. present. and some knowledge by rote of the terms of art. and we find that in the sixteenth century the cultivation of this fantastic science was the serious object of men whose understandings and acquirements admit of no question. Lilly himself. This. which he might be anxious to propound. The wisest men have been cheated by the idea that some supernatural influence upheld and guided them. Almost all the other paths of mystic knowledge led to poverty. by duping himself. like the oracles of yore. inflamed by hopes of temporal aggrandizement. a low-born ignorant man. notices in that curious volume the most distinguished persons of his day. and who. Bacon himself allowed the truth which might be found in a wellregulated astrology. as they were termed. This was the more apt to be the case that a sufficient stock of impudence. From what we learn of his own history. He became rich by the eager hopes and fond credulity of those who consulted him. grounded on the desire of deceit. were more frequently found classed with rogues and vagabonds. pretended to understand and explain to others the language of the stars. who wrote the history of his own life and times. But the pursuits of the astrologer were such as called for instant remuneration. whose knowledge was imposition. were all the store of information necessary for establishing a conjurer. and from the time of Wallenstein to that of Buonaparte. with all its changes. which should disclose the life of the interrogator. his advance in favour of the great. The natural consequence of the degraded character of the professors was the degradation of the art itself. abandoned to vice. sharking cheats.

in King James's time. Yet the public still continue to swallow these gross impositions. as representing the most horrid spells. the ” most honourable Esquire. seldom failed to attend. than he himself might boast. Forman. Wharton. and eager to believe. It was even said that the devil was about to pull down the court-house on their being discovered. which might otherwise have cost him the gibbet. was inclined to cherish astrology. or Gadbury had discovered from the heavens touching the fortune of the strife. were both equally curious to know. as now. the dupe of astrology and its sister arts. He was dead before the affair broke out.” to whom Lilly's life is dedicated. The astrologers embraced different sides of the Civil War. Others of the audience only saw in them the baby figures on which the dressmakers then. Elias Ashmole. Lamb. was then common in society. some of the astrological tracts devised by men of less cunning. so soon as they had come to pass. Once a year. respecting the mystic arts. patronised by the Duke of Buckingham. He maintained some credit even among the better classes. what Lilly. Lilly was a prudent person. In the villanous transaction of the poisoning of Sir Thomas Overbury. lovers of the mathematics. and in 1660 this did not prevent his foreseeing the restoration of Charles II. In the time of the Commonwealth he foresaw the perpetual destruction of the monarchy. Dr. they were scandalous as panders. the most opposite possible to exact science. No person could better discover from various omens the course of Charles's misfortunes. by which name were still distinguished those who encouraged the pursuit of mystical prescience. where the knaves were patronised by the company of such fools as claimed the title of Philomaths — that is. hanged as a witch at Salisbury. For such reasons the common people detested the astrologers of the great as cordially as they did the more vulgar witches of their own sphere. was in 1640 pulled to pieces in the city of London by the enraged populace. and the king on one side. like other overgrown favourites. . and the gale of fortune. contriving with some address to shift the sails of his prophetic bark so as to suit the current of the time. some little puppets were produced in court. were accustomed to expose new fashions. though perhaps more pretence to science. too. and as quacks sold potions for the most unworthy purposes. much mention was made of the art and skill of Dr. for Aubrey and Ashmole both called themselves his friends. When the cause was tried. several men of sense and knowledge honoured this rendezvous. and his maid-servant. though coming from such unworthy authority. at an advanced period of life. the atrocious authors of the crime. nay. another professor of the same sort with Lamb. with the exception only of the principal parties. But the astrologers of the 17th century did not confine themselves to the stars.and perhaps cheated himself merely by perusing. doubtless. being persons extremely credulous. which were viewed by one party with horror. the astrologers had a public dinner or feast. as it did all others concerned. There was no province of fraud which they did not practise. who. thirteen years afterwards. who was consulted by the Countess of Essex on the best mode of conducting her guilty intrigue with the Earl of Somerset. with the Parliamentary leaders on the other. Congreve's picture of a man like Foresight.

This dishonoured science has some right to be mentioned in a “ Treatise on Demonology. or salamander. but at the time the conductor of an Astrological Almanack. or a stone. is one of the last occasions in which astrology has afforded even a jest to the good people of England. with Swift's Elegy on the same person. and is said to have been imposed upon concerning the spirits attached to it. who are now seldom heard of. by the report of one Kelly who acted as his viewer. whose office it is to appear. led to a controversy. and issued predictions accordingly. once a shoemaker. and imprison in a ring. The unfortunate Dee was ruined by his associates both in fortune and reputation. began to sink under ridicule and contempt. sylph. on the principles of the Rosicrucian philosophy. and render answers to such questions as the viewer should propose. a mirror. was entrusted to a third party. assumed by these persons and their clients.The erection of the Royal Society. dedicated to far different purposes than the pursuits of astrology. Crofton Croker and others. but the task of viewer. the name of Philomath. and is never ascribed to any descendant of the proudest Norman or boldest Saxon who followed the banner of Earl Strongbow. The subject has been so lately and beautifully investigated and illustrated by Mr. had a natural operation in bringing the latter into discredit. to assume the character of an astrologer. one of the most beautiful is the Irish fiction which assigns to certain families of ancient descent and distinguished rank the privilege of a Banshie. much less to adventurers of later date who have obtained settlements in the Green Isle. Some superstition of the same kind was introduced by the celebrated Count Cagliostro. a boy or girl usually under the years of puberty. or household fairy. as she is called. Of these. under the title of Nestor Ironside. one of which. . had a stone of this kind. I believe you will find that this. or reader. Dr. he chose. while she announces the approaching death of some one of the destined race. It is remarkable that the sage himself did not pretend to see the spirit. and compel it to appear when called. we come now briefly to mention some leading superstitions once. seemingly mourning. Dismissing this general class of impostors. common to all the countries of Europe. that I may dispense with being very particular regarding it. announcing the death of a person called Partridge. and although the credulity of the ignorant and uninformed continued to support some pretenders to that science. but now restricted to those which continue to be inhabited by an undisturbed and native race. When Sir Richard Steele set up the paper called the Guardian. Dee. They affirmed they could bind to their service. His show-stone or mirror is still preserved among other curiosities in the British Museum. If I am rightly informed. an excellent mathematician. some fairy. ence with the various spirits of the elements. during the course of the intrigue respecting the diamond necklace in which the late Marie Antoinette was so unfortunately implicated. though denying the use of all necromancy — that is unlawful or black magic — pretended always to a correspond. their actions and answers. which was supported with great humour by Swift and other wags.” because the earlier astrologers. perhaps. the distinction of a banshie is only allowed to families of the pure Milesian stock.

The last place in the south of Scotland supposed to have been honoured. which. as it was styled. would not suffer any sacrifice to be given to Brownie. or. in consequence of which the family and clan. to call for special discussion. hired away. with whom afterwards they were no more troubled. were in no way surprised to hear by next accounts that their gallant chief was dead at Lisbon. however. on religious grounds. the functions of this attendant genius.Several families of the Highlands of Scotland anciently laid claim to the distinction of an attendant spirit who performed the office of the Irish banshie. James Hogg.” Another story of the same kind is told of a lady in Uist. he abandoned the inhospitable house. were not limited to announcing the dissolution of those whose days were numbered. was Bodsbeck in Moffatdale. where his services had so long been faithfully rendered. we are informed by Brand. food or raiment. or benefited. is that of an ancestor of the family of MacLean of Lochbuy. and thus. when he brewed. that Brownie was displeased with that book he read upon. Thus. whereupon the first and second brewings were spoilt. without fee and reward. the self-instructed genius of Ettrick Forest. but many of the simple inhabitants could little see the prudence of parting with such a useful domestic drudge. The Highlanders contrived to exact from them other points of service. they would get no more service of Brownie. for though the wort wrought well. yet in a little time it left off working. the usual sacrifice to this domestic spirit. which has been the subject of an entertaining tale by Mr. and for no use. as guarding and protecting the infant heir through the dangers of childhood. These particular superstitions. and grew cold. though he would not give any sacrifice to Brownie. which was Brownie's eyesore and the object of his wrath. or the best card to be played at any other game. however. but he. and sometimes as condescending to interfere even in the sports of the chieftain. but the third succeeded. by the offer of clothes or food. he had ale very good. The first and second brewings failed. who refused. when Brownie lost the perquisite to which he had been so long accustomed. Amongst them. This spirit was easily banished. and too much obliterated from recollection. sometimes as warding off dangers of battle. by the residence of a Brownie. at others. are too limited. being better instructed from that book. whose form and appearance differed in different cases. Of a meaner origin and occupation was the Scottish Brownie. if he continued to do. and point out the fittest move to be made at chess. and sometimes read upon his Bible. Neither was it all times safe to reject Brownie's assistance. The general faith in fairies has already . announcing the event by cries and lamentations. already mentioned as somewhat resembling Robin Goodfellow in the frolicsome days of Old England. who served faithfully. or brewing. Before the death of any of his race the phantom-chief gallops along the sea-beach near to the castle. where he served under Lord Wellington. that a young man in the Orkneys ” used to brew. to whom an old woman in the house said. though much shocked. but of the third broust. Among those spirits who have deigned to vouch their existence by appearance of late years. The spectre is said to have rode his rounds and uttered his death-cries within these few years.

to say nothing of a system of deception which may in many instances be probable. or which have been imprinted in our minds with indelible strength by some striking circumstances touching our meeting in life. and. in perfect similitude. but something remains to be said upon another species of superstition. and in one or other of these causes. It is easy to suppose the visionary has been imposed upon by a lively dream. and their frequent apparition. applies with peculiar force to the belief of ghosts. we apprehend a solution will be found for all cases of what are called real ghost stories. A thousand additional circumstances. Hence Lucretius himself. has called the belief in ghosts ” the last lingering fiction of the brain. so general that it may be called proper to mankind in every climate. the most absolute of sceptics. as facts so undeniable that he endeavours to account for them at the expense of assenting to a class of phenomena very irreconcilable to his general system. A supernatural tale is in most cases received as an agreeable mode of amusing society. far too obvious to require recapitulation. Mr. from averring that such tales are necessarily false. render the supposed apparition of the dead the most ordinary spectral phenomenon which is ever believed to occur among the living. a waking reverie. that it is found to survive in states of society during which all other fictions of the same order are entirely dismissed from influence. In truth. the evidence with respect to such apparitions is very seldom accurately or distinctly questioned.undergone our consideration. it is in this way that it commonly exhibits itself. in the exact resemblance of the person while alive. and may have good reason for doing so. continues to wander near the place of sepulture. with his usual felicity. and he would be rather accounted a sturdy moralist than an entertaining companion who should employ himself in assailing its credibility. so deeply rooted also in human belief. something like that of impeaching the genuine value of . We have said there are many ghost stories which we do not feel at liberty to challenge as impostures. the countenance of a murdered person is engraved upon the recollection of his slayer. It would indeed be a solecism in manners. or the misrepresentation of a diseased organ of sight. though there is no real phantom after all. for reasons opposite but equally powerful. because we are confident that those who relate them on their own authority actually believe what they assert. the excitation of a powerful imagination. We are far. and at the same time cannot venture to question the phenomena supposed to haunt the repositories of the dead. considers the existence of ghosts. As he will not allow of the existence of the human soul. therefore. than that human memory should recall and bring back to the eye of the imagination.” Nothing appears more simple at the first view of the subject. Crabbe. The son does not easily forget the aspect of an affectionate father. being detached by death. for whether the cause of delusion exists in an excited imagination or a disordered organic system. All that we have formerly said respecting supernatural appearances in general. he is obliged to adopt the belief that the body consists of several coats like those of an onion. even the very form and features of a person with whom we have been long conversant. and that the outmost and thinnest.

In every point the evidence of such a second-hand retailer of the mystic story must fall under the adjudged case in an English court. That such stories are believed and told by grave historians. or being well acquainted with the outside of the mansion in the inside of which the ghost appeared.” Yet it is upon the credit of one man. from the person to whom it has happened. who pledges it upon that of three or four persons. and if in any case he presumes to do so. who have told it successively to each other. wise. tinged as it is with belief of the general fact. Summon him hither.” said his lordship. he answers it on the hasty suggestion of his own imagination. Upon the evidence of such historians we might as well believe the portents of ancient or the miracles of modern Rome. but he cannot be heard by proxy in this court. as it was narrated to him by the ghost of the murdered person. even from the most candid and honourable persons. is the word of some individual who has had the story. The narrator is asked. however. abstain from using the rules of cross-examination practised in a court of justice. or some friend of the family. In estimating the truth or falsehood of such stories it is evident we can derive no proofs from that period of society when men affirmed boldly and believed stoutly all the wonders which could be coined or fancied. sir. and his evidence the best possible. but most likely from his family. for example. only shows that the wisest men cannot rise in all things above the general ignorance of their age. which sufficiently accounted for the supposed apparitions. I have certainly myself met with. a well-bred or prudent man will. The judge stopped a witness who was about to give an account of the murder upon trial. we read in . which are rather fitted to support the credit of the story which they stand committed to maintain. and that in the case of able. and will incline me always to feel alarmed in behalf of the continued health of a friend who should conceive himself to have witnessed such a visitation. For example. and resolute persons. some unimportant question with respect to the apparition. “ Hold. such instances. however agreeable to our love of the wonderful and the horrible. and I'll hear him in person. he is in danger of receiving answers. candid. Far more commonly the narrator possesses no better means of knowledge than that of dwelling in the country where the thing happened. It is a rare occurrence. but your communication is mere hearsay. ” the ghost is an excellent witness. which my office compels me to reject. and this with perfect unconsciousness on his own part. But in such instances shades of mental aberration have afterwards occurred. The nearest approximation which can be generally made to exact evidence in this case.the antiquities exhibited by a good-natured collector for the gratification of his guests. of whose veracity I had every reason to be confident. indeed. and by doing so often gives a feature of minute evidence which was before wanting. under such circumstances. than to the pure service of unadorned truth. to find an opportunity of dealing with an actual ghost-seer. it may be. that we are often expected to believe an incident inconsistent with the laws of Nature. This difficulty will appear greater should a company have the rare good fortune to meet the person who himself witnessed the wonders which he tells.

whether. Vincent. and insisted on his sister giving up the house. and. It is true that the general wish to believe. Or. having ascertained the existence of disturbances not immediately or easily detected. as an old servant of his house. that of the late Earl St. as they believed them not. as one of the class of tales I mean.” or from his lordship's sister? And as in any other case such sure species of direct evidence would be necessary to prove the facts. it was not unnatural that a faithful friend should take this mode of calling his attention to his perilous situation. with a thousand different circumstances. or from his ” companion of the watch. a whole night. and authenticate the tale by the mention of some token known to him as a former retainer of the family. It is the same with all those that are called accredited ghost stories usually told at the fireside. has given some such stories a certain currency in society. The Duke was superstitious. that neither would they believe if one arose from the dead. of which we are not told the import. This is told as a real story. if we suppose that the incident was not a mere pretext to obtain access to the Duke's car. and. rather than power of believing. When the particulars are precisely fixed and known. The house was under lease to Mrs. you observe. the most extravagant of which is more probable than that the laws of Nature were broken through in order to give a vain and fruitless warning to an ambitious minion. or whatever was the ghost-seer's name. might not be in some degree tinged with their tendency to superstition. the age considered. with a friend. desirous to make an impression upon Buckingham. but does it follow that our reason must acquiesce in a statement so positively contradicted by the voice of Nature through all her works ? The miracle of raising a dead man was positively refused by our Saviour to the Jews. it was irresistibly argued by the Divine Person whom they tempted. amid the other eminent qualities of a first-rate seaman. The result of his lordship's vigil is said to have been that he heard the noises without being able to detect the causes. his sister. This is no doubt a story told by a grave author. at a time when such stories were believed by all the world. because they had already sufficient grounds of conviction. But who has heard or seen an authentic account from Earl St. who demanded it as a proof of his mission. and still farther. numberless conjectures might be formed for accounting for the event in a natural way. They want evidence. Ricketts. who watched. entirely the not unreasonable supposition that Towers. the messenger may have been impressed upon by an idle dream — in a word. might be tempted to give him his advice. his lordship might not advise his sister . in the character of his father's spirit. Vincent. and the ready dupe of astrologers and soothsayers. it seems unreasonable to believe such a story on slighter terms. it is said. Vincent. it might be time to enquire whether Lord St. I may mention.Clarendon of the apparition of the ghost of Sir George Villiers to an ancient dependant. Shall we suppose that a miracle refused for the conversion of God's chosen people was sent on a vain errand to save the life of a profligate spendthrift ? I lay aside. in order to detect the cause of certain nocturnal disturbances which took place in a certain mansion. The manner in which he had provoked the fury of the people must have warned every reflecting person of his approaching fate.

Another such story. the signatures are forged after all. the second Lord Lyttelton.rather to remove than to remain in a house so haunted. The remarkable circumstance of Thomas. And no doubt it must happen that the transpiring of incidents. has been always quoted as a true story. that the unfortunate nobleman had previously determined to take poison. William Clerk. But we are left without a glimpse when. who meditated his exit from the world. That the house was disturbed seems to be certain. scarcely two. when he first learned it. in which men have actually seen. indeed. and in what terms. is also one of those accredited ghost tales. tell the story in the same way. and among the numbers by whom it has been quoted. an unwillingness very closely to examine such subjects. for the secret fund of superstition in every man's bosom is gratified by believing them to be true. in which the name of a lady of condition is made use of as having seen an apparition in a country-seat in France. I gave the story at that time to . walk through society unchallenged. how. by any means exclude the probability that the disturbance and appearances were occasioned by the dexterous management of some mischievously-disposed persons. it was first circulated. contributes to the increase of such stories — which do accordingly sometimes meet us in a shape of veracity difficult to question. Mr. but the circumstances (though very remarkable) did not. should have chosen to play such a trick on his friends. now nearly thirty years ago. There is. chief clerk to the jury Court. though he might believe that poachers or smugglers were the worst ghosts by whom it was disturbed. upon the information of an apparition. having gained a certain degree of currency in the world. in my mind. and of course had it in his own power to ascertain the execution of the prediction. or barrack. The following story was narrated to me by my friend. It was no doubt singular that a man. from the mention of respectable names as the parties who witnessed the vision. like bills through a bank when they bear respectable indorsations. from a passenger in the mail-coach. prophesying his own death within a few minutes. Clerk's consent. is so far better borne out than those I have mentioned. and in what manner. as also by whom. apparitions which were invisible to others. or at least induces him to abstain from challenging them as false. But it is still more credible that a whimsical man should do so wild a thing. With Mr. The story of two highly respectable officers in the British army. who are supposed to have seen the spectre of the brother of one of them in a hut. it maybe. or conceived that they saw. this story obtained its currency. that I have seen a narrative of the circumstances attested by the party principally concerned. which attain a sort of brevet rank as true. than that a messenger should be sent from the dead to tell a libertine at what precise hour he should expire. But it is sufficient to show that such stories as these. To this list other stories of the same class might be added. even of those who pretend to the best information. and bearing creditable names on their front. although. But of late it has been said and published. in America. although all agree in the general event. Edinburgh.

you have done for me. swore at him for a fat lubber. but I will never leave you. an elderly man. since he credited such auguries. implying that he felt deeply what he was saying. and said. The man died. and returned with a blunderbuss loaded with slugs. with a seafaring man of middle age and respectable appearance. where they made food for the negroes.” ” And why should that be unlucky?” said my friend. He fixed his eyes on the captain. and was hurt. if he could believe his own eyes. and once I had near lost my vessel. and mortally wounded him.” This conversation led Mr.” said the sailor. there was one ghost at least which he had seen repeatedly. and a sufferer by the embargo. who published it with a ghost-ballad which he adjusted on the same theme. on a journey to London. with which he took deliberate aim at the supposed mutineer. so. From the minuteness of the original detail. “ Sir. almost amounting to mutiny.poor Mat Lewis. who announced himself as master of a vessel in the Baltic trade. intelligent. The captain of the vessel was a man of a variable temper. and acute persons whom I have known in the course of my life. found himself in company. He seldom spoke to this person without threats and abuse. and see how much fat he had got. Our mariner had in his youth gone mate of a slave vessel from Liverpool. but subject to fits of humour. On being further urged. fired. in return. the captain ran down to his cabin. The man made a saucy answer. I never saw three magpies but twice. The man was handed down from the yard. and cruel. the narrative is better calculated for prose than verse. In the course of the desultory conversation which takes place on such occasions the seaman observed. tyrannical. and the narrator observed. but three are the devil. “ And if I do. during which he was very violent. in the mail-coach. in a towering passion. or some such name. which the old man. that my friend Mr. On one occasion Bill Jones appeared slow in getting out on the yard to hand a sail. and more especially as the friend to whom it was originally communicated is one of the most accurate. abused the seaman as a lubberly rascal. and stretched on the deck.” and he spoke this in a deep and serious manner. evidently dying. he confessed that. “ I may have my own reasons for doing. and said he would have him thrown into the slave-kettle. and the second I fell from a horse. I am willing to preserve the precise story in this place. however. with the license which sailors take on merchant vessels. “ I wish we may have good luck on our journey — there is a magpie. of which town he seemed to be a native. when the Emperor Paul laid his ill-judged embargo on British trade. The captain. according to custom.” The captain. Clerk to observe that he supposed he believed also in ghosts. William Clerk. on which. called Bill Jones. He took a particular dislike at one sailor aboard.” replied the sailor. in compliance with a common superstition. sometimes kind and courteous to his men. dislike. which confirmed . ” but all the world agrees that one magpie bodes bad luck — two are not so bad. was very apt to return. with a naïveté . who got fat by leaving his duty to other people. He then told his story as I now relate it. “ I cannot tell you that. and passion. It was about the eventful year 1800. His body was actually thrown into the slave-kettle.

At length the captain invited the mate. The narrator had seen this apparition himself repeatedly — he believed the captain saw it also.” he said. He told me he would never leave me. The sailor seemed struck with the question. that if the captain apprehended any bad consequences from what had happened. to go down to the cabin and take a glass of grog with him. You only see him now and then.the extent of his own belief in the truth of what he told. Clerk from learning the names and dates. In this interview he assumed a very grave and anxious aspect. “ There was not much fat about him after all. that in general he conversationed well enough. and whether his companion considered him as at all times rational. saw that the captain had thrown himself into the sea from the quarter-gallery. he ordered him to be confined below. after a moment's delay. and the crew. When just about to sink he seemed to make a last exertion. and the instant he got up the companion-ladder he heard a splash in the water. At this moment the mate was called to the deck for some purpose or other. the mate.” The captain told the crew they must keep absolute silence on the subject of what had passed. Bill is with me now !” and then sunk. but he is always by my side. and answered. he should run for the west of France or Ireland. dared not call his attention to it. spoke his commander fair. and looking over the ship's side. and there go ashore. and was running astern at the rate of six knots an hour. not unnatural in their situation. and obtained his liberty. to carry the vessel into Liverpool. He advised. that the ghost of the dead man appeared among them when they a had a spell of duty. on which occasion the spectre was sure to be out upon the yard before any of the crew. but he took no notice of it for some time. especially if a sail was to be handed. who was tired of close confinement in that sultry climate. and he has kept his word. After hearing this singular story Mr. but want of time and other circumstances prevented Mr. When he mingled among the crew once more he found them impressed with the idea. and demanded if he had an intention to deliver him tip for trial when the vessel got home. and reiterated his determination to leave the ship.” The mate replied that his leaving the vessel while out of the sight of any land was impossible. “ I need not tell you. who was now in a sort of favour. that might to a certain degree have verified the . Jack. Thus they held on their course homeward with great fear and anxiety. calling. It would have been desirable to have been able to ascertain how far this extraordinary tale was founded on fact. Clerk asked some questions about the captain. After a day or two he came to the mate. terrified at the violent temper of the man. “ what sort of hand we have got on board with us. and never out of my sight. At this very moment I see him — I am determined to bear it no longer. The mate. and clasped his hands towards the mate. “ By — . The captain only shook his head gloomily. sprung half out of the water. and I have resolved to leave you. to be seen no more. and leave him. and as the mate was willing to give an explicit and absolute promise.

amongst whom was Jarvis Matcham. his first words as he awoke were: “ My God ! I did not kill him. He was summoned to join his regiment from a town where he had been on the recruiting service. He meditated this wickedness the more readily that the drummer. as the captain was a man of a passionate and irritable disposition. another instance of a guilt-formed phantom. was paid off. was the name of my hero — was pay-sergeant in a regiment. he must at least be admitted to have displayed a singular talent for the composition of the horrible in fiction. and accompanied with such vivid lightning and thunder so dreadfully loud. and took the route by Salisbury. and this perhaps under some shade of suspicion. He expressed more terror than seemed natural for one who was familiar with the war of elements. He and another seaman resolved to walk to town. Jarvis Matcham — such. and other charges which fell within his duty. but long after remembered that. He was afloat for several years. when he shook the guest by the shoulder. The waiter summoned him accordingly. Matcham perceived discovery was at hand. He perpetrated his crime. Granting the murder to have taken place. especially as lie was compelled to avoid communicating his sentiments with any one else. and the tale to have been truly told. and began to look . and changing his dress after the deed was done. I am. Clerk be not allowed this degree of credit. as congenial to this story. he thought.events. that the obdurate conscience of the old sinner began to be awakened. where he halted and went to bed. In the desperation of his crime he resolved to murder the poor boy. which made considerable noise about twenty years ago or more. if I am not mistaken. and the catastrophe would in such a case be but the natural consequence of that superstitious remorse which has conducted so many criminals to suicide or the gallows. might have made the fortune of a romancer. who was the only one of his party appointed to attend him. I know not which. I cannot forbear giving you. and some of the crew. and would have deserted had it not been for the presence of a little drummer lad. It was when within two or three miles of this celebrated city that they were overtaken by a tempest so sudden. The tale. were dismissed as too old for service. should participate in the horrible visions of those less concerned. At length the vessel came into Plymouth. and avail himself of some balance of money to make his escape. the victim of remorse. though I have lost the account of the trial. bounty of recruits (then a large sum). made a long walk across the country to an inn on the Portsmouth road. properly detailed. If the fellow-traveller of Mr. and instantly entered as an able-bodied landsman or marine. desiring to be called when the first Portsmouth coach came. and behaved remarkably well in some actions. it was nowise improbable that he. His sobriety and attention to duty gained him the same good opinion of the officers in his new service which he had enjoyed in the army. where he was so highly esteemed as a steady and accurate man that he was permitted opportunity to embezzle a considerable part of the money lodged in his hands for pay of soldiers. there was nothing more likely to arise among the ship's company than the belief in the apparition. I think. had been put as a spy on him.” Matcham went to the seaport by file coach. tolerably correct in the details.

and Alexander Bain . acquainting some stranger or ignorant old woman with the particulars of his fate. full evidence had been procured from other quarters. though perhaps unacquainted with all the parties. Witnesses appeared from his former regiment to prove his identity with the murderer and deserter. and to punishment for the advantage of society. infected by the superstition of his associate. with a tone of mystery and fear. Cases of this kind are numerous and easily imagined. who. He then confessed the murder of the drummer. the truth of the vision on Salisbury Plain. which he was now convinced was inevitable. but proceeds in a very circuitous manner. and made a full confession of his guilt. and with his dying breath averred and truly. “ to know what to think. however. in which the apparition is pleased not to torment the actual murderer. Jarvis Matcham was found guilty and executed. forms and customs peculiar to themselves. as he would desire a shipmate to profit by his fate. the influence of superstitious fear may be the appointed means of bringing the criminal to repentance for his own sake. and pleaded Not Guilty. Similar stories might be produced. The sailor complied. But occasionally cases occur like the following. alias Clark. and added that. is directed by a phantom to lay the facts before a magistrate. Duncan Terig. and Jarvis Matcham complained that the stones still flew after him and did not pursue the other. so I shall dwell on them no further. he wished his comrade to deliver him up to the magistrates of Salisbury. At length Matcham complained to his companion that the stones rose from the road and flew after him. with respect to which it is more difficult. to make a clear conscience as far as confession could do it. “ What! not see that little boy with the bloody pantaloons !” exclaimed the secret murderer. “ But what is worse. as we are informed by the facetious Captain Grose. coming up to his companion. 1754. and the waiter remembered the ominous words which he had spoken when he awoke him to join the Portsmouth coach. Jarvis Matcham was surrendered to justice accordingly. to use James Boswell's phrase. where the grossness of the imposture detects itself. Having overcome his friend's objections to this mode of proceeding. as he thought. but rather advert to at least an equally abundant class of ghost stories. In this respect we must certainly allow that ghosts have. if he had anything on his mind. and declared that he was unable longer to endure the life which he had led for years. The prisoner denied his confession. as a considerable reward had been offered. There would be no edification and little amusement in treating of clumsy deceptions of this kind. and whispering. The criminal fetched a deep groan.” Upon the 10th of June. “ who is that little drummer-boy.and talk so wildly that his companion became aware that something more than usual was the matter. and what business has he to follow us so closely ?” ” I can see no one.” answered the seaman. showing plainly that. so much to the terror of his comrade that he conjured him. under the direction of Heaven. He desired the man to walk on the other side of the highway to see if they would follow him when he was alone. When his last chance of life was over he returned to his confession.” he added. By this time. But before the trial the love of life returned.

in bed in his cottage. the apparition of the ghost being admitted. Farquharson was brought in evidence to prove that the preceding witness. sergeant in Guise's regiment. when an apparition came to his bedside and commanded him. in consequence of which negligence the sergeant's ghost again appeared to him. The accident happened not long after the civil war. on the jury. which lay concealed in a place he pointed out in a moorland tract called the Hill of Christie. He desired him to take Farquharson with him as an assistant. of which the . he said. Yet though the supernatural incident was thus fortified. the embers of which were still reeking. for the murder of Arthur Davis. had called him to the burial of the bones.MacDonald. for. a neighbour and friend. an account of the murder appeared from the evidence of one Alexander MacPherson (a Highlander. without any certainty as to his fate. who was himself ignorant of English. Believing his visitor to be one Farquharson. a person who slept in one of the beds which run along the wall in an ordinary Highland hut. and received for answer that he had been slain by the prisoners at the bar. and buried the body. At length. On this occasion the witness asked the ghost who were the murderers. Yet there may be various modes of explaining this mysterious story. the appearance told the witness he was the ghost of Sergeant Davis. two Highlanders. declared that upon the night when MacPherson said he saw the ghost. “ What language did the ghost speak in ?” The witness. called the assistance of Farquharson. and told him the same story which he repeated in court. upbraiding him with his breach of promise. Isabel MacHardie. The inference was rather smart and plausible than sound. who found the accused parties not guilty. “ As good Gaelic as I ever heard in Lochaber.” “ Pretty well for the ghost of an English sergeant. and sworn by an interpreter). were tried before the Court of justiciary. Next day the witness went to the place specified. and there found the bones of a human body much decayed. Edinburgh. The witness. MacPherson. 1749. In this case the interference of the ghost seems to have rather impeded the vengeance which it was doubtless the murdered sergeant's desire to obtain. however. might be privately cut off by the inhabitants of these wilds. on the 28th September. in the cross-examination of MacPherson. the witness did as he was bid. so there existed too many reasons on account of which an English soldier. we know too little of the other world to judge whether all languages may not be alike familiar to those who belonged to it. The witness did not at that time bury the bones so found. the story of the apparition threw an air of ridicule on the whole evidence for the prosecution. straggling far from assistance. after this second visitation. although their counsel and solicitor and most of the court were satisfied of their having committed the murder. replied. she saw a naked man enter the house and go towards MacPherson's bed. and when they were without the cottage. It was followed up by the counsel for the prisoners asking. and although there were other strong presumptions against the prisoners. who gave the following extraordinary account of his cause of knowledge: — He was. speaking no language but Gaelic. and requested him to go and bury his mortal remains. to rise and follow him out of doors. It appears that Sergeant Davis was missing for years. It imposed.” answered the counsel.

considering that all the fiends of hell were let loose upon them. the remains of a very large tree called the King's Oak. Other and worse tricks were practised on the astonished Commissioners who. The whole matter was. were tossed through the house. Their bed-chambers were infested with visits of a thing resembling a dog. which kicked a candlestick and lighted candle into the middle of the room. from motives of remorse for the action. The Commissioners arrived at Woodstock. in considering the truth of stories of ghosts and apparitions. and one of the party saw the apparition of a hoof. knowing well that his superstitious countrymen would pardon his communicating the commission entrusted to him by a being from the other world. retreated from Woodstock without completing an errand which was. after the Restoration. which they had splintered into billets for burning. Logs of wood. Spectres made their appearance. or one who takes what is called Tascal-money. 13th October. While they were in bed the feet of their couches were lifted higher than their heads. impeded by infernal powers. whether on the part of those who are agents in the supposed disturbances. 1649.following conjecture may pass for one. which were set down to the same cause. and may also suppose that. But through the whole Highlands there is no character more detestable than that of an informer. and the chairs displaced and shuffled about. Trenchers ” without a wish” flew at their heads of free will. perhaps as an accomplice or otherwise. and then politely scratched on the red snuff to extinguish it. or of enmity to those who had committed it. It is therefore of the last consequence. he entertained a wish to bring them to justice. as they thought. The reader may suppose that MacPherson was privy to the fact of the murder. or reward for discovery of crimes. would reduce the whole story to a stroke of address on the part of the witness. and it is far from being impossible that he had recourse to the story of the ghost. or the author of the legend. in exact conformity with the sentiments of the Highlanders on such subjects. discovered to be the trick of one of their . and then dropped with violence. but which carne and passed as mere earthly dogs cannot do. though the opposition offered was rather of a playful and malicious than of a dangerous cast. But in the course of their progress they were encountered by obstacles which apparently came from the next world. Thunder and lightning came next. in different shapes. To have informed against Terig and MacDonald might have cost MacPherson his life. This explanation. We shall separately notice an instance or two of either kind. The most celebrated instance in which human agency was used to copy the disturbances imputed to supernatural beings refers to the ancient palace of Woodstock. although he might probably have been murdered if his delation of the crime had been supposed voluntary. in their opinion. to consider the possibility of wilful deception. when the Commissioners of the Long Parliament came down to dispark what had been lately a royal residence. determined to wipe away the memory of all that connected itself with the recollection of monarchy in England.

active spirited man. The unearthly terrors experienced by the Commissioners are detailed with due gravity by Sinclair. Golding. The plates. an elderly lady. and glass-ware and small movables of every kind. or where it is to be looked for. as common to our race as to that noble mimick of humanity. that even the wisest and most prudent have not escaped its contagious influence. and filling a household or neighbourhood with anxiety and dismay. and under circumstances which induce us to wonder.own party. both at the extreme trouble taken by the agents in these impostures. near London. The Commissioners' personal reliance on him made his task the more easy. shifted their places. was a concealed loyalist. which induces the human being in all cases to enjoy and practise every means of employing an influence over his fellow-mortals. But although the detection or explanation of the real history of the Woodstock demons has also been published. dishes. seemed suddenly to become animated. called Funny Joe . Golding's maid. In the year 1772. with little gratification to themselves besides the consciousness of dexterity if they remain undiscovered. contained in the house of Mrs. under the name of Giles Sharp. and with the risk of loss of character and punishment should the imposture be found out. Still greater is our modern surprise at the apparently simple means by which terror has been excited to so general an extent. and I have myself seen it. and the slight motives from which they have been induced to do much wanton mischief. On the first point I am afraid there can be no better reason assigned than the conscious pride of superiority. named Anne Robinson. nor could she be prevailed on to sit down for a moment excepting while the family were at . The particulars of this commotion were as curious as the loss and damage occasioned in this extraordinary manner were alarming and intolerable. a young woman. threw the utmost consternation into the village of Stockwell. a train of transactions. and it was all along remarked that trusty Giles Sharp saw the most extraordinary sights and visions among the whole party. flew through the room. was walking backwards and forwards. This man. and to this we must also ascribe the otherwise unaccountable pleasure which individuals have taken in practising the tricksy pranks of a goblin. Being a bold. china. by Dr. commencing upon Twelfth Day. Mrs. to which we may safely add that general love of tormenting. whose real name was Joseph Collins of Oxford. and were broken to pieces. and also. the monkey. where he had been brought up before the Civil War. Amidst this combustion. and impressed upon some of its inhabitants the inevitable belief that they were produced by invisible agents. I think. Similar disturbances have been often experienced while it was the custom to believe in and dread such frolics of the invisible world. Joe availed himself of his local knowledge of trap-doors and private passages so as to favour the tricks which he played off upon his masters by aid of his fellow-domestics. Plott. and well acquainted with the old mansion of Woodstock. who had attended the Commissioners as a clerk. I have at this time forgotten whether it exists in a separate collection. To this is owing the delight with which every school-boy anticipates the effects of throwing a stone into a glass shop.

At times. known by the name of the Stockwell ghost.* Many such impositions have been detected. when the family were absent. which the spectators. Such was the solution of the whole mystery. long after the events had happened. who did not watch her motions. a jocular experiment upon the credulity of the public. considering such a commotion and demolition among her goods and chattels. that when I first met with the original publication I was strongly impressed with the belief that the narrative was like some of Swift's advertisements. and many others have been successfully concealed. as has been since more completely ascertained by a Mr. but to know what has been discovered in many instances gives us the assurance of the ruling cause in all. I remember a scene of the kind attempted to be got up near Edinburgh. and similar articles were suspended. and coolly advised her mistress not to be alarmed or uneasy. during which time no disturbance happened. which went so far that not above two cups and saucers remained out of a valuable set of china. and took refuge with a neighbour. delighted with the success of her pranks. invited neighbours to stay in her house. on the authority of Mr. bacon. in the Mearns. which. her landlord reluctantly refused to shelter any longer a woman who seemed to be persecuted by so strange a subject of vexation. a sort of persons whose habits of incredulity and suspicious observation render them very dangerous spectators on such occasions. This Anne Robinson had been but a few days in the old lady's service. to make him her confidant. but. but detected at once by a sheriff's officer. Golding as she might be well termed. Hone. Mrs. Vitus's dance. But it was certainly published bona fide . and. and the hubbub among her movables ceased at once and for ever. . She next abandoned her dwelling. So many and wonderful are the appearances described. The late excellent Mr. and placed wires under others. This excited an idea that she had some reason for being so composed. which may be hinted at as another imposture of the same kind. There was a love story connected with the case. in which the only magic was the dexterity of Anne Robinson and the simplicity of the spectators. The afflicted Mrs.prayers. Brayfield. She employed some simple chemical secrets. has since fully explained the wonder. This circumstance of itself indicates that Anne Robinson was the cause of these extraordinary disturbances. and it was remarkable that she endured with great composure the extraordinary display which others beheld with terror. Brayfield. minister at Dunottar. and had been nearly as famous as that of Cock Lane. Golding's suspicions against Anne Robinson now gaining ground. finding his movables were seized with the same sort of St. She had fixed long horse hairs to some of the crockery. not inconsistent with a degree of connexion with what was going forward. she loosened the hold of the strings by which the hams. but they soon became unable to bear the sight of these supernatural proceedings. so that they fell on the slightest motion. pushed them farther than she at first intended. as these things could not be helped. Walker. terrified many wellmeaning persons. she dismissed her maid. imputed to invisible agency. and Mr. Other things she dexterously threw about. who persuaded Anne. by which she could throw them down without touching them.

which his duty might have called upon him to seize. and unconsciously becomes disposed rather to colour more highly than the truth. in the antique and picturesque dress of his country. that the chamber in which he slept was occasionally disquieted by supernatural appearances. its one arm extended so as to master him if he attempted to rise. practised by a young country girl. who has been himself duped.. where the ghost seer chanced to be resident. after which it pleased the spectre of ancient days to leave him to more sound repose. and recollect that it is only the frequent exhibition of such powers which reconciles us to them as matters of course. till. if too candid to add to the evidence of supernatural agency. who was surprisingly quick at throwing stones. in order to disguise from his vigilance the removal of certain modern enough spirits. Being at that time no believer in such stories. he attended little to this hint. apprehended. For example. but the spectre stood before him in the bright moonlight. turf. upon cross-examination. the Highlanders of the mansion had chosen to detain the exciseman by the apparition of an ancient heroic ghost. Very often. At other times it happens that the meanness and trifling nature of a cause not very . as menacing the Lowlander if he should attempt to quit his recumbent position. told him by an intelligent and bold man. The belief of the spectators that such scenes of disturbance arise from invisible beings will appear less surprising if we consider the common feats of jugglers. the detection depends upon the combination of certain circumstances. to have sprung from bed. Struck with sudden and extreme fear. than acquiesce in an explanation resting on his having been too hasty a believer. which. After which eclaireissment the same explanation struck all present. with such dexterity that it was for a long time impossible to ascertain her agency in the disturbances of which she was the sole cause. or professors of legerdemain. he was willing. He was given to understand by the family. So singular a story had on its side the usual number of votes from the company. Thus he lay in mortal agony for more than an hour. I once heard a sensible and intelligent friend in company express himself convinced of the truth of a wonderful story. the other hand held up in a warning and grave posture. viz. The spectator also. only that his brows were bound with a bloody bandage. although they are wonders at which in our fathers' time men would have cried out either sorcery or miracles. Here a single circumstance explained the whole ghost story.gave me a curious account of an imposture of this kind. and other missiles. until the witching hour of night. when he was awakened from a dead sleep by the pressure of a human hand on his body. is yet unwilling to stand convicted by cross examination. He looked tip at the figure of a tall Highlander. of having been imposed on. about an apparition. necessarily explain the whole story. it was explained that the principal person concerned was an exciseman. too. makes no very respectable appearance when convicted of his error. The scene lay in an ancient castle on the coast of Morven or the Isle of Mull. when betaking himself to rest. and thence.

and which no one could have supposed unless some particular fortune occasioned a discovery. who is well known in the political world. It was the rule of this club that its members presided alternately. for the sake of privacy. A rat caught in an old-fashioned trap had occasioned this tumult by its efforts to escape. The cause was immediately discovered. but. and remained there for some time without hearing the noises which they had traced thither. with a domestic who had grown old in the family. and was detected by the precision of his observation. There are other occasions in which the ghost story is rendered credible by some remarkable combination of circumstances very unlikely to have happened. had their meeting in a summer-house situated in the garden. At length the gentleman and his servant traced the sounds which they had repeatedly heard to a small store-room used as a place for keeping provisions of various kinds for the family. They entered this place. The noise of the fall. and having some reason to think the following edition correct. resounding through the house. The gentleman resolved to watch himself. had occasioned the disturbance which.obvious to observation has occasioned it to be entirely overlooked. it is an incident so much to my purpose that you must pardon its insertion. and which he would be ashamed of mentioning. but was then obliged to drop it. since no one is willing to acknowledge that he has been alarmed by a cause of little consequence. while acted upon at a distance by the imagination of the hearers. of which the old butler had the key. at a distance from the main building. On one occasion. An incident of this sort happened to a gentleman of birth and distinction. and who had begun to murmur strange things concerning the knocking having followed so close upon the death of his old master. might easily have established an accredited ghost story. while the silence of the night generally occasions the imputing to them more than the due importance which they would receive if mingled with the usual noises of daylight. the cause of which they had found it impossible to trace. but it has been differently related. but much lower than it had formerly seemed to be. An apparition which took place at Plymouth is well known. in the winter. in which it was able to raise the trap-door of its prison to a certain height. there was a rumour among his servants concerning a strange noise heard in the family mansion at night. the president of the evening chanced to be . even on account of that very meanness. The circumstance was told me by the gentleman to whom it happened. at length the sound was heard. During the summer months the society met in a cave by the seashore. A club of persons connected with science and literature was formed at the great sea-town I have named. during those of autumn and winter they convened within the premises of a tavern. had a pass-key to the garden-door. They watched until the noise was heard. Shortly after he succeeded to his estate and title. which they listened to with that strange uncertainty attending midnight sounds which prevents the hearers from immediately tracing them to the spot where they arise. Some of the members to whom the position of their own dwellings rendered this convenient. but for the cool investigation of the proprietor. by which they could enter the garden and reach the summer-house without the publicity or trouble of passing through the open tavern.

She said that as his malady was attended by light-headedness. an old woman who had long filled the place of a sicknurse. to convince her hearer of the truth of what she said. at length. and on her death-bed was attended by a medical member of the philosophical club. some dubious rumours of the tale found their way to the public. she had been directed to keep a dose watch upon him during his illness. and during her sleep the patient had awaked and left the apartment. The delirious patient had very naturally taken the road to the club. a deputation of two members from the club came to enquire after their president's health. but it was only to die there. In approaching and retiring from the apartment he had used one of the pass-keys already mentioned. replaced in bed. the appearance of which was that of death itself. from some recollections of his duty of the night. and at the same time they were too wise men to wish to confirm the superstition of the vulgar by what might seem indubitable evidence of a ghost. naming the president whose appearance had surprised the club so strangely. While they were upon this melancholy theme. the door suddenly opened. was taken very ill. This confession explained the whole matter.very ill. to see how it fared with the president. To him. He wore a white wrapper. who had thus strangely appeared among them. When. The astonished party then resolved that they would remain absolutely silent respecting the wonderful sight which they had seen. lifted the empty glass which stood before him. and that she felt distress of conscience on account of the manner in which he died. Unhappily she slept. The philosophical witnesses of this . and stalked out of the room as silent as he had entered it. The affair was therefore kept a strict secret. she said. and the appearance of the president entered the room. She added. and thus there had been time for him to return to what proved his death-bed. the conversation turned upon the absent gentleman's talents. which made his way shorter. and received for answer that he was already dead. and met him in the act of returning. The company remained deeply appalled. a nightcap round his brow. then replaced it on the table. she acknowledged that she had long before attended Mr. with many expressions of regret. — — . He stalked into the room with unusual gravity. and the loss expected to the society by his death. although. from a sentiment of respect. took the vacant place of ceremony. indeed. the gentlemen sent to enquire after his health had reached his lodging by a more circuitous road. They went. and put it to his lips. long before they reached his chamber. for the same reason. that immediately after the poor gentleman expired. bowed around. She got him. Their habits were too philosophical to permit them to believe that they had actually seen the ghost of their deceased brother. and returned with the frightful intelligence that the friend after whom they had enquired was that evening deceased. left vacant the chair which ought to have been occupied by him if in his usual health. after many observations on the strangeness of what they had seen. they resolved to dispatch two of their number as ambassadors. on her own awaking. as usual. was reported to be on his death-bed. she forth-with hurried out of the house to seek him. The club met as usual. On the other hand. she found the bed empty and the patient gone. Several years afterwards. and.

looked out. Another occurrence of the same kind. There is also a large class of stories of this sort. or other arts. who had been left a widow very suddenly by an affectionate husband. now perfectly still and silent. now brandishing its arms and gibbering to the moon. It was.strange scene were now as anxious to spread the story as they had formerly been to conceal it. the only path which led to the rider's home. The road was very narrow. and mistook every stranger on horseback for the husband she had lost. The female was found to be a maniac. at all risks. When the farmer came close to the spot he dashed in the spurs and set the horse off upon a gallop. have been either employed to dupe the spectators. a manoeuvre which greatly increased the speed of the horse and the terror of the rider. which was very possible. At his own house at length he arrived. when pressed upon his. the lord to whom it belonged had determined upon giving an entertainment worthy of his own rank and of the magnificence of the antique mansion . and impress them with ideas far different from the truth. she contrived to drop behind the horseman and seize him round the waist. If this woman. proved too short for his friends and his native land. He accordingly approached. was yet one which. since it showed in what a remarkable manner men's eyes might turn traitors to them. with no opportunity of giving the apparent phantom what seamen call a wide berth. and the poor farmer himself was conveyed to bed. but not to that extent of defying goblins which it inspired into the gallant Tam o'Shanter. A Teviotdale farmer was riding from a fair. where he lay struggling for weeks with a strong nervous fever. to pass the apparition. who therefore resolved. as slowly as possible. might have passed as an indubitable instance of a supernatural apparition. now near at hand. when she could make her escape. it would have been very hard to have convinced the honest farmer that he had not actually performed part of his journey with a ghost behind him. had it remained unexplained. of acoustics. felt as cold as that of a corpse. lost in the service of his sovereign. or have tended to do so through mere accident and coincidence. although scarcely so striking in its circumstances. the spot where the spectre stood. standing on the corner of the churchyard wall. and bid the servants who came to attend him. At a certain old castle on the confines of Hungary. and sometimes. but the following may be told as a tale recounted by a foreign nobleman known to me nearly thirty years ago. As he passed the corner where she was perched. while the figure remained. and the nature and cause of her malady induced her. Of these it is scarce necessary to quote instances. whose life. however. He was pondering with some anxiety upon the dangers of travelling alone on a solitary road which passed the corner of a churchyard. ventriloquism. had dropt from the horse unobserved by him whom she had made her involuntary companion. “ Tak aff the ghaist !” They took off accordingly a female in white. but the spectre did not miss its opportunity. where she sometimes wildly wept over his grave. for the hand of her who sat behind him. to wander to the churchyard. where various secrets of chemistry. when he saw before him in the moonlight a pale female form standing upon the very wall which surrounded the cemetery. at which he had indulged himself with John Barleycorn.

the major went to bed. “ while I count twenty. The guests of course were numerous. Somewhat contrary to the custom in these cases.” he said. “ and then fire without hesitation. who sung a solemn requiem. The ladies sung on. unless some one would take the risk of sleeping in a room supposed to be haunted. which makes the traveller's shadow. and that he only fired at their reflection thrown forward into that in which he slept by the effect of a concave mirror. having denounced vengeance against any one who should presume by any trick to disturb his repose.” With that he began to handle his pistols. is now ascertained by philosophers to be a gigantic reflection. the apartment was in the first place proposed for his occupation. render him sufficiently ready to execute.” The song was uninterrupted — the five minutes were expired. as the person least likely to suffer a bad night's rest from such a cause. three accordingly. and among them was a veteran officer of hussars. carefully loaded. on the table by his bedside. large as was. and as I regard it as an impertinence. it was supposed. Three ladies. “ this is very well. but somewhat monotonous — will you be so kind as to change the tune ?” The ladies continued singing. and had an illness which lasted more than three weeks. after having occasioned great admiration and some fear. By a similar deception men have been induced. seventeen — eighteen — nineteen. but the music was not interrupted. he expostulated. to imagine they saw troops of horse and armies marching and countermarching. The trick put upon him may be shortly described by the fact that the female choristers were placed in an adjoining room. represented upon the misty clouds. which were in fact only the reflection of horses pasturing upon an .” he said. as he was known to be above such prejudices. He had not slept an hour when he was awakened by a solemn strain of music. were pronounced with considerable pauses between. He then got seriously angry: “ I will but wait five minutes. Other stories of the same kind are numerous and well known. at length he tired. fantastically dressed in green. the last numbers. a threat which his habits would. When the arrangements for the night were made this officer was informed that there would be difficulty in accommodating the company in the castle. The apparition of the Brocken mountain.” This produced as little effect as his former threats. remarkable for his bravery.which he inhabited. and repeating more than once his determination to fire. and having shared the festivity of the evening. and an assurance that the pistols were cocked. The major began to grow angry: “ Ladies.” he said. but on approaching the end of the number. and that. having left his candle burning and laid his trusty pistols. appear a colossal figure of almost immeasurable size. two. I shall take a rough mode of stopping it. “ I must consider this as a trick for the purpose of terrifying me. The major thankfully accepted the preference. He looked out. were seen in the lower end of the apartment. “ I still give you law. The ladies sung on. As he pronounced the word twenty he fired both pistols against the musical damsels — but the ladies sung on ! The major was overcome by the unexpected inefficacy of his violence. ladies. “ Ladies. He counted one. in Westmoreland and other mountainous countries. The major listened for some time with delight.” he said. retired after midnight.

that although in fact it does not afford a single tittle of evidence properly so called. rather overprinted an edition of ” Drelincourt on Death. He sat accordingly in his daughter's chamber. the same shadowy form. Another species of deception. “ Anything. “ rather than allow that we look upon what is supernatural. she was surprised to see a gleamy figure. was approaching. and expressed his intention to watch in the apartment next night. as if intimating a sense of her presence. As she stooped to gather her cabbages the reflection appeared to bend forward.” A strict research established a natural cause for the appearance on the window. so much discomposed as to call her father's attention. He obtained an account of the cause of her disturbance. Defoe — whose power in rendering credible that which was in itself very much the reverse was so peculiarly distinguished — has not failed to show his superiority in this species of composition. moved off by . arises from the dexterity and skill of the authors who have made it their business to present such stories in the shape most likely to attract belief. advised his friend to prefix the celebrated narrative of Mrs. The lantern she carried in her hand threw up the refracted reflection of her form on the chapel window. A bookseller of his acquaintance had. Veal's ghost. the same inclinations.” said the father. which he wrote for the occasion. with the purpose of recommending the edition. or of the forms of peaceful travellers. The seer of this striking vision descended to her family. The experienced bookmaker. The young lady used sometimes to indulge the romantic love of solitude by sitting in her own apartment in the evening till twilight. In youth this lady resided with her father. with such an air of truth. divided from it by a small cabbage-garden. my dear. the same female figure was seen hovering on the window. One evening while she was thus placed. It was the custom of an old woman. Its head was surrounded by that halo which painters give to the Catholic saints. and then disappeared. affecting the credit of such supernatural communications. and tends to show out of what mean materials a venerable apparition may be sometimes formed. against the arched window in the end of the Anabaptist chapel. instead of sleeping on the editor's shelf. in the trade phrase. the same pale light around the head. “ What do you think of this ?” said the daughter to the astonished father. and even darkness. it nevertheless was swallowed so eagerly by the people that Drelincourt's work on death.” and complained to Defoe of the loss which was likely to ensue. and that was the whole matter. Twilight came.opposite height. to whom the garden beneath was rented. as it were. which the supposed spirit recommended to the perusal of her friend Mrs. and while the young lady's attention was fixed on an object so extraordinary. The back part of the house ran at right angles to an Anabaptist chapel. Bargrave. as the evening before. where she also attended him. but as the gray light faded into darkness. to go out at night to gather cabbages. Their house was situated in the principal street of a town of some size. hovering. as of some aerial being. the figure bent gracefully towards her more than once. and nothing appeared. A very curious case of this kind was communicated to me by the son of the lady principally concerned. a man of sense and resolution.

To which Mrs. at least (for it is of great length). whose only son and daughter resided in family with her. that would break. wreck.thousands at once. by night and by noonday. succeeded to a great degree in imposing upon the public a tale which he calls the Apparition Evidence. She would at noonday appear upon the quay of Mynehead. and though it were never so great a calm. for his fair estate was all buried in the sea. in Somersetshire. a boat. at home and abroad. lived an ancient gentlewoman named Mrs. ho !' If any boatmen or seamen were in sight. though in that species of composition he must stand unrivalled. and was supposed to be worth eight or ten thousand pounds. only the seamen would escape with their lives — the devil had no permission from God to take them away. the story. and did not come. or her eyes in looking round. the old lady. Observing. by her frequent apparitions and disturbances. though I believe you may have that satisfaction. and unsupported as it was by evidence or enquiry. and. however. and paid her the courtesy of handing her over a stile. John Dunton. would blow with a whistle. Leckie. They had a child about five or six years old. Offended at this. and he that was once worth thousands was reduced to a very . One story is told of a doctor of physic walking into the fields. has something in it a little new. from her age.” Die. and drown the ship and goods. It was equally dangerous to please and displease her. It did not require the talents of Defoe. be soon lost to her friends. and cry. merely from the cunning of the narrator. 'twas all one. a man of scribbling celebrity at the time. he became suspicious of the condition of his companion. to fix the public attention on a ghost story. they were cast away. yet immediately there would arise a most dreadful storm. she had made a poor merchant of her son. I am afraid you will but little care to see or speak with me after my death. The son traded to Ireland. whom he at first accosted civilly. but this ghost would appear in the same garb and likeness as when she was alive. that she did not move her lips in speaking. good-humoured gentlewoman must. He got through at length with some difficulty. and an admonition to pay more attention to the next aged gentlewoman whom he met. they were sure to be cast away and if they did come. Leckie. ' A boat. which no man alive could have conceived as having occurred to the mind of a person composing a fiction. Her son had several ships sailing between Ireland and England.” says John Dunton. “ But this. a boat. Leckie often made the somewhat startling reply: “ Forasmuch as you now seem to like me. the hag at next stile planted herself upon it. no sooner did they make land. standing at the mainmast. was so pleasant in society. and to each other. that it was a thousand pities such an excellent. and come in sight of England. This family was generally respected in Mynehead. she did. and especially Mrs. who in his return met with this spectre. that her friends used to say to her. and the addition of a number of adventitious circumstances. At Mynehead. and not without a sound kick. and after her funeral was repeatedly seen in her personal likeness. however. was received as true. The beginning of it. and obstructed his passage. Yet at this rate. “ was a petty and inconsiderable prank to what she played in her son's house and elsewhere. and showed some desire to be rid of her society. ho ! a boat. incredible in itself.

when they had descried land. and when to the left side of the bed. amid tempestuous weather. add. and then ship and goods went all out of hand to wreck. help me. that the charm of the tale depends much upon the age of the person to whom it is addressed. about eleven in the forenoon. insomuch that he could at last get no ships wherein to stow his goods. their estate is gone. nor any mariner to sail in them. and hope. looking over her shoulder. it would become intolerably tedious were I to insist farther on the peculiar sort of genius by which stories of this kind may be embodied and prolonged. in order to enjoy some single trait of imagination. This cast her into a great horror. her throat having been pinched by two fingers. which stopped her breath and strangled her. Sometimes when in bed with his wife. she would cry out. One morning after the child's funeral. a girl of about five or six years old. you may guess at their grief and great sorrow. mother ! for grandmother will choke me !' and before they could get to their child's assistance she had murdered it they finding the poor girl dead. Leckie receives from the ghost to deliver to Atherton. the narrator an probably the contriver of the story. and bespeaks her: ' In the name of God. distant from each other. then was she gone to the left. look. having cast up a short and silent prayer to God.' say's the spectrum. dies within us when we obtain the age of manhood. for whether the ship were his own or hired. he always professed he never saw her. because I have been myself at two periods of my life. only one evening their only child. I may. and now their child is gone also. then was she gone to the right.poor and low condition in the world. mother. Leckie the younger goes up into her chamber to dress her head.”&c. her husband being abroad. ' I will do thee no hurt. cries out. engaged in scenes favourable to that degree of . this troublesome ghost would come as before. faith. * Dunton. and the sadder and graver regions which lie beyond it. but whether he did not. I am the more conscious of this. why do you trouble me ?' ' Peace. proceeds to inform us a length of a commission which the wife of Mr. father ! help me. who afterwards died by the hands of the executioner. This was the sorest of all their afflictions. there's your mother !' And when he would turn to the right side. but that part of the subject is too disagreeable and tedious to enter upon. but recollecting her affrighted spirits. or he had but goods on board it to the value of twenty shillings. and that mariners belonging to it often. In her son's house she hath her constant haunts by day and night. Leckie still remains in that port. already too desultory and too long. whistle in a calm at the mainmast at noonday. ' Oh.' ' What will you have of me ?' says the daughter. and as she was looking into the glass she spies her mother-in-law. Mrs. lying in a ruckle-bed under them. she turns about. and recovering the exercise of her reason. a guilty and unfortunate man. Bishop of Waterford. However. that it is said the tradition of Mrs. fatal. for knowing what an uncomfortable. see her. however. they did all decline his service. or would not own if he did. and that the vivacity of fancy which engages us in youth to pass over much that is absurd. ' Husband. So deep was the impression made by the story on the inhabitants of Mynehead. the old beldam. conceive they hear the whistle-call of the implacable hag who was the source of so much mischief to her own family. and losing voyage they should make of it.

then seneschal of the castle. then past middle life. and that with movables of great antiquity. situated upon a frowning rock. and any third person whom they may take into their confidence. and glad to find ourselves in polished society. we were welcomed to the castle with Highland hospitality. As the late Earl of Strathmore seldom resided in that ancient mansion. the Earl of Strathmore. Esq. when I was there. I began to consider myself too far from the living and somewhat too near the dead. rise immediately above the waves of the loch. the hereditary seat of the Earls of Strathmore. and in that course had arrived in the salt-water lake under the castle of Dunvegan. after a cruise of some duration.” Until the present Macleod connected by a drawbridge the site of the castle with the mainland of Skye. In a word. when I happened to pass a night in the magnificent old baronial castle of Glammis. The hoary pile contains much in its appearance. did not fail to affect me to the point of being disagreeable. being a secret chamber. and I had an idea of the vicinity of the castle chapel. I was conducted to my apartment in a distant corner of the building. in a situation somewhat similar to that which I have described. the whole night-scene in Macbeth's castle rushed at once upon my mind. viz. not indeed the gracious Duncan. it was. and struck my imagination more forcibly than even when I have seen its terrors represented by the late John Kemble and his inimitable sister. On the first of these occasions I was only nineteen or twenty years old.. with the pieces of chivalric armour hanging upon the walls. while they were mingled at the same time with a strange and indescribable kind of pleasure. In the year 1814 accident placed me. the access must have been extremely . We had passed through what is called ” The King's Room. though not remarkable either for timidity or superstition. It contains also a curious monument of the peril of feudal times. After a very hospitable reception from the late Peter Proctor. but half-furnished. whose turrets. As most of the party. with whom the name naturally associates itself. the more ancient is referred to a period “ whose birth tradition notes not.superstitious awe which my countrymen expressively call being eerie. in Lord Strathmore's absence. It was the scene of the murder of a Scottish king of great antiquity. and the wild and straggling arrangement of the accommodation within doors.. by the law or custom of the family. the recollection of which affords me gratification at this moment. the entrance of which. after my conductor had retired. that as I heard door after door shut. chanced to be well known to the Laird of Macleod. but Malcolm the Second. I experienced sensations which.. garnished with stags' antlers and similar trophies of the chase. I must own. The most modern part of the castle was founded in the days of James VI. I had been on a pleasure voyage with some friends around the north coast of Scotland. The extreme antiquity of the building is vouched by the immense thickness of the walls. and I myself in particular. In spite of the truth of history. impressive to the imagination. which. his heir apparent. greatly contributed to the general effect of the whole. and said by tradition to be the spot of Malcolm's murder. and in the traditions connected with it.” a vaulted apartment. must only be known to three persons at once.

as proper to the halls of Dunvegan as when Johnson commemorated them. Such was the haunted room at Dunvegan. I took possession of it about the witching hour. but if you looked from the windows the view was such as to correspond with the highest tone of superstition. termed the Nurse of Rorie Mhor. who has stamped his memory on this remote placed. in which I hoped to make amends for some nights on ship-board. so much greater was the regard paid to security than to convenience. and the extreme thickness of the walls. have obtained the name of Macleod's Maidens. up which a staircase ascended from the sea-shore. The distant scene was a view of that part of the Quillan mountains which are called. which argued great antiquity. to fill occasional intervals in the music and song.difficult. like the buildings we read of in the romances of Mrs. an covered with foam the steep piles of rock. from their form. Radcliffe. the most engaging spectacle was the comfortable bed. recall her banner. and carry off the standard-bearer. The voice of an angry cascade. swept along the troubled billows of the lake. The waves rushed in wild disorder on the shore. which would drench three chiefs of these degenerate days. in the extremity of the Highlands. nor the fairy banner given to Macleod by the Queen of Fairies. and wondered that I was not more affected. that it is only in the morning of life that this feeling of superstition ” comes . and as such it well deserved a less sleepy inhabitant. because that chief slept best in its vicinity. Indeed. after the fight is ended. Accordingly. which. Amid such tales of ancient tradition I had from Macleod and his lady the courteous offer of the haunted apartment castle. which had sometimes been used against privateers even of late years. but the mind is not at all times equally ready to be moved. as a stranger. was heard from time mingling its notes with those of wind and wave. that in former times the only access to the mansion arose through a vaulted cavern in a rock. There was something of the dignity of danger in the scene. We reviewed the arms and ancient valuables of this distinguished family — saw the dirk and broadsword of Rorie Mhor. “ I looked around me. and by fits disclosed. An autumnal blast. I might be supposed interested. the bloodiest and the last. In the language of Dr Johnson. The solemn drinking-cup of the Kings of Alan must not be forgotten. or Riders of the Storm. when the Elfin Sovereign shall. which it occasionally concealed. of all I heard or saw. and in such a night seemed no bad representatives of the Norwegian goddesses called Choosers of the Slain. Such a castle. was of course furnished with many a tale of tradition. it is necessary to confess that. and where I slept accordingly thinking of ghost or goblin till I was called by my servant in the morning. that magic flag which has been victorious in two pitched fields. and many a superstitious legend. Macleod's Dining-Tables. From this I am taught to infer that tales of ghosts and demonology are out of date at forty years and upwards. nothing could have been more comfortable than th interior of the apartment. Except perhaps some tapestry hangings. and his horn.” In a word. sometimes driving mist before it. about which. rising from the sea in forms something resembling the human figure. for on a platform beneath the windows lay an ancient battery of cannon. and will still float in the third.

that the grosser faults of our ancestors are now out of date. in conscience carry my opinion of my countrymen's good sense so far as to exculpate them entirely from the charge of credulity. and it seems yet more clear that every generation of the human race must swallow a certain measure of nonsense. render it no useless occupation to compare the follies of our fathers with our own. without much trouble.” affecting us with fear which is solemn and awful rather than painful.o'er us like a summer cloud. and I am tempted to think that. however. if I were to write on the subject at all. as may. however. There remains hope. it should have been during a period of life when I could have treated it with more interesting vivacity. The sailors have a proverb that every man in his lifetime must eat a peck of impurity. both of superstition and the disposition to believe in its doctrines. THE END ————————————— . see such manifest signs. and then burning them for their pains. Even the present fashion of the world seems to be ill suited for studies of this fantastic nature. I cannot. Those who are disposed to look for them may. and might have been at least amusing if I could not be instructive. the sense of humanity is too universally spread to permit them to think of tormenting wretches till they confess what is impossible. and the most ordinary mechanic has learning sufficient to laugh at the figments which in former times were believed by far advanced in the deepest knowledge of the age. and that whatever follies the present race may be guilty of.

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